Keselowski wins in Coca-Cola 600, 3rd race back from shutdown (5-24-20)
By: Becca Cottingham
Headline Photo Courtesy: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Coca-Cola 600 weekend has such a powerful present every year. This year even with COVID-19 they were still able to bring all emotions to forefront of viewers mind. Denny Hamlin lost some important pieces of his car before the race even started and starts the race in the pits. The competition caution came just in time for some drivers, including the pit road penalties. Not long after rain hits the track and we had a little over an hour red flag. This brought the track temperature down even more and is going to make for some fast cars. With the cooler track temperatures we are seeing three wide racing for positions all over the track. Alex Bowman went down pit road in outside of the top ten. He came out as the first place driver. He took the lead and did not look back. Christopher Bell had an awesome save when he got sideways but was able to hang on to the car. Just prior to the end of stage one Clint Bowyer hit the wall hard after something under the car broke loose ending his night.Alex Bowman took the first stage win under caution.
We enter stage three with some three wide racing that eventually settles down. Bubba Wallace hits pit road early with smoke and they are saving it is an mechanical issue. He heads behind the wall to attempt to fix the car. We see green flag pit stops about midway through the second stage. Alex Bowman is still leading this stage but Truex Jr is trying to catch him but comes up just shy. Alex gets the second stage win. The drivers are brought down pit road for a moment of silence to honor all of the fallen.
Alex Bowman brought us to the start of the third stage, but within the first fifty laps Martin Truex Jr has passed him. Alex was feeling some kind of vibration and will be heading down pit road for a possible loose wheel. Something happened to Matt Kenseth’s number 42 and brought out the caution in stage. Bringing everyone down pit road for adjustments. Logano was the fastest out of the pits and was able yo lead several laps. We gad a nice battle for fifth, sixth, and seventh places. Joey Logano was able to keep his lead and win stage three.
Joey brings us to the green to start the final stage of the race. Joey and Matt DiBenedetto trade back to back for first place. Which are some of the first laps that Matt has lead since changing teams. They had opted to put just two tires on the car to get up front. After losing the clean air his car faded. All of this happened while Chase Elliott was coming up through the pack. Martin Truex Jr gained the lead and kept it for a portion of the final stage. Closely followed by Hendrick Motorsports team members Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman. There will be at least one more set of pitstops which comes roughly around the half way point due Joey Gase spinning out. Jimmie Johnson was able to beat Martin Truex Jr out of the pits. This is going to be a huge restart for multiple drivers and is going to lead to some wild racing. Brad Keselowski got a huge run and took the first position. Chase Elliott was able to power around Brad Keselowski to lead several laps. Ge has a huge lead over Keselowski and as long as nothing happens could very well be our winner.
With less than three to go William Bryon spins out and brings a caution out. There was a last moment decision that will make or break Chase Elliott being able to fight for the win. Brad Keselowski stays out along with Jimmie Johnson while Chase went down pit road. Brad had another powerful start and even with all of the racing behind him won the longest race in NASCAR. This is his first Coca-Cola 600 win.