Post-Race Reactions: Too Tough to Tame 200
Hornaday, Bodine, Crafton and Buescher comment on their top-five finishes at Darlington.
GarageCam tries to tame Darlington
The GarageCam gang tries to tackle a place that has been called 'The Track Too Tough to Tame .'
Hamlin rides fresh tires to overtime XFINITY win at Charlotte
RELATED: Full Charlotte race results CONCORD, N.C. -- In an event that bore notable similarities to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race a week earlier, Denny Hamlin won Saturday's Hisense 4K TV 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a pass on the final lap. Hamlin's fresh rubber trumped the old tires of Kyle Larson and Joey Logano , who restarted ahead of Hamlin in overtime at the 1.5-mile track. In fact, Hamlin restarted sixth on Lap 205 after coming to pit road for four new tires under the eighth and final caution of the race, brought out when polesitter Erik Jones , Hamlin's teammate, slammed the outside wall and performed the coup de grace on his already wounded No. 20 Toyota. "It was a second opportunity, obviously," Hamlin said. "I was hoping for that caution there at the end, and we got it and we were able to get four tires on this Hisense Camry and took off. A little closer than what I thought -- I mean, we were just really tight those last couple laps, but what a great day." The victory was Hamlin's first of the year in his only start so far, and it was the fifth this season for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, the first four coming with Kyle Busch behind the wheel. Logano surged ahead of Larson at the restart, but Hamlin gained huge momentum on his new tires from the outside lane. With less than a lap left, Hamlin got past Logano and held on to win the race by .291 seconds over Austin Dillon , who edged Logano for second in the final corner. Dillon had opted for right-side tires only on his final pit stop. But for a timely caution, however, Hamlin would not have had the opportunity to win the race. As they had done a week earlier in the All-Star race, Larson and Logano swapped the lead, with Logano powering past Larson's No. 42 Chevrolet on lap 166 of a scheduled 200 , and Larson regaining the top spot with five laps left in regulation. But when Jones slammed into the wall on Lap 199, Hamlin had the chance to come to pit road for tires under caution, while Larson and Logano stayed out to preserve their track position. With just two cars up front on old tires, as had been the case for the final restart in the All-Star race, Hamlin made short work of the cars in front of him. It was the third last-lap pass for the win in the XFINITY Series this season. Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gayle conferred before the final pit stop and ultimately opted for the fresh rubber. "It was a collaborative call," Hamlin said. "He (Gayle) leaned towards staying out, but I thought that I could get around those guys in just two laps even though we were way faster on that last run. I thought tires were the thing. "I knew if I could start on the outside that I wanted new tires and it just worked out on pit road where I came out on the outside. It all worked out and it was very exciting in that last corner, a little more exciting than what I expected." Hamlin desperately needed the final caution because his No. 18 team had drawn a penalty for an uncontrolled tire on a pit stop under yellow on Lap 160. Hamlin restarted mid-pack instead of at the rear of the field as the violation requires, because according to NASCAR, the cars at the rear of the field failed to pass Hamlin’s No. 18 Camry before the green flag waved on Lap 164. Hamlin said he left a large buffer for the laps-down car to pass him before the restart, but that they declined to do so. By the time Jones hit the wall, Hamlin had driven to third place, trailing only Larson and Logano. The similarities to the finish of the All-Star Race were not lost on Logano. "I thought it was kind of supposed to be like what the All-Star Race was with old tires and new tires, but the (my car) was the fastest it's been all year," Logano said. "We can't hold our heads down about it. We had a car that was capable of winning if circumstances went right. I felt like I was going have a good restart next to Kyle. "I felt my restarts were a little better than his all day, and I thought, 'OK, if I can clear him,' which we did I was like, 'Alright, we've got a shot,' but it was really hard to hold off those four tires. What a fun race. It got really exciting there at the end. I got passed on the top by Denny and then Kyle just kept ripping up top and had a big run into the corner, so it was fun to watch that. I was hoping they would get into each other, and I would sneak one out."
Johnson on Truex Jr.: 'He wasn't going to be denied'
RELATED: Results " Updated standings " Post-Charlotte Chase Grid CONCORD, N.C. -- On a night where Martin Truex Jr . dominated the Coca-Cola 600 and shattered several NASCAR records in one of the Sprint Cup Series' most storied races, the rest of the field was left to tip its cap to a driver that has come oh-so-close to winning already in 2016. MORE: Truex rewrites history Truex led 392 of 400 laps (the most ever at Charlotte Motor Speedway ) and his 588 miles led (of 600) was the most led in NASCAR history. The performance was so stellar that Jimmie Johnson , who finished third, stopped mid-interview on pit road to congratulate and give Truex a high-five. "He was too damn fast not to ," Johnson joked afterward. Race runner-up Kevin Harvick spent the latter part of the race trying to get to Truex but couldn't reel him in. "I saw him for about 50 miles or 75 miles," Harvick said. "The rest of the night I never saw him." Johnson led the second-most laps in the field at five and, at times, seemed to be close to making a move to get the lead. But the six-time Sprint Cup Series champion couldn't quite get there. "I thought I had him clear twice and somehow he just drove by on the straightaway," Johnson said. "His car was just really strong and there were many times where I thought I'd get close and then he'd pick the pace up a couple tenths. I think he had plenty of speed on the side and could really control the race." Johnson knows a little something about being dominant. In 2004, he led 334 laps en route to winning the Coca-Cola 600 . He has also led 300 laps two other times, both coming at Martinsville in 2008 and 2013. The fact that Truex and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota have been so close to Victory Lane this season -- he led 141 laps at Texas and 172 laps at Kansas before late-race trouble found the 78 team in both instances -- was not lost on Johnson. RELATED: Truex: When he's led 100 laps or more "They've had a few runs where they've just been the class of the field and things have just kept them from Victory Lane," Johnson said. "Tonight, he wasn't going to be denied. There was no way around that." Joey Logano started the race alongside Truex on the front row and spent some time chasing Truex from the front, as well. The Sprint All-Star Race winner summed up his pursuit succinctly. "We didn't have anything for the 78," Logano said. "Martin Truex was on fire tonight and really all weekend. They had it figured out." Like Johnson, Logano said he could stay close for a little bit, but was no match for the 78 on the long runs. "There were times that we were racing him up front for the lead on restarts," Logano said. "We'd run with him for a while and then eventually on the long run he just took off. We had nothing for him, but at times I thought we were definitely a second-place car -- but unfortunately it's a distant second." The win was a popular one in the garage with Johnson saying how well-liked Truex is by his fellow competitors. That sentiment was echoed by fifth-place finisher Brad Keselowski . "You see a guy like Martin win and you can't help but feel good about it," Keselowski said. "He's a good person and he deserves all the success he gets." MORE: Relive the day in photos
NASCAR reacts to Truex's Coca-Cola 600 dominance
RELATED: Full race results " Post-Charlotte standings " Updated Chase Grid Being cancer free, at our home track, and having my nephew here to celebrate with us. Priceless. ❤️❤️❤️#winning pic.twitter.com/F4brUxKwsa — Sherry Pollex (@SherryPollex) May 30, 2016 Happy for my great friend @MartinTruex_Jr . Domination. It was only a matter of time for that group. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) May 30, 2016 Very happy for @MartinTruex_Jr and @SherryPollex .. Such great people that deserve great things!! — Elliott Sadler (@Elliott_Sadler) May 30, 2016 So so so happy for two of the most genuine and wonderful people I know @SherryPollex & @MartinTruex_Jr — Erin CrockerEvernham (@ErinEvernham) May 30, 2016 WHAT A STORY! SO Awesome for @SherryPollex and @MartinTruex_Jr I LOVE your hair Sherry. You look great!!! — Kenny Wallace (@Kenny_Wallace) May 30, 2016 Extremely happy for @SherryPollex good to see you. Look amazing — Todd Bodine (@Team_Onion) May 30, 2016 Awesome to see @MartinTruex_Jr @SherryPollex in victory lane. Congrats! — Ben Kennedy (@BenKennedy33) May 30, 2016 Welp, never want to lose, but couldn't think of anyone I'd rather lose too ... Congrats @MartinTruex_Jr and @SherryPollex !!!! — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) May 30, 2016 I'd say this is the ultimate pic for #SelfieSunday ! Looking great @SherryPollex & @MartinTruex_Jr ! #CocaCola600 -JW pic.twitter.com/A1DTegXrnH — Miss Sprint Cup (@MissSprintCup) May 30, 2016 Happy for you bud! Great job @MartinTruex_Jr @NASCAR pic.twitter.com/TpqODx0pPx — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) May 30, 2016 Congrats @MartinTruex_Jr , y'all showed everybody how it's done tonight. — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) May 30, 2016 Now that was a victory lane celebration by @MartinTruex_Jr THAT'S how you do it! Raw emotion & jubilation! That's what we all want to see — Brendan Gaughan (@Brendan62) May 30, 2016 Congrats @MartinTruex_Jr @SherryPollex ! — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) May 30, 2016
CGR crewmen use military ties to honor fallen brothers-in-arms
Graham Molatch, jackman for the No.42, and Mark Singleton, back-up tire changer for the No.1, hold personal ties to the names being honored on the cars of Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurrray in the Coca-Cola 600.
Hamlin makes last-lap pass to win at Charlotte
Denny Hamlin passes Joey Logano on the final lap and fights off Kyle Larson to win the Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Truex snaps streak, dominates to win the Coca-Cola 600
Martin Truex Jr. dominates at Charlotte Motor Speedway leading a NASCAR record 392 of 400 laps to win the Coca-Cola 600.
H2H: Would 600 win mean more to Junior or Busch?
RELATED: Full 600 coverage A winner's trophy for the marathon, reputation-making Coca-Cola 600 is certainly one of the most prized possessions in all of NASCAR. The longest race (600 miles) on the NASCAR circuit is about so much more than just distance, too . There's the history of having such a contest at the 1.5-mile track just north of the Charlotte, North Carolina, NASCAR hub, not to mention this is the only race with three unique sets of elements: A race that starts under the sun, traverses to dusk and ends at night under the lights makes for three time frames with three unique sets of circumstances. Yes, it is truly a battle of man vs. machine. That's what makes it so difficult to win the Coca-Cola 600 , which both Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr . have never done. In fact, neither has won a points-paying event at Charlotte Motor Speedway . So which driver would benefit most from a win Sunday? Brad Norman and George Winkler set out to answer the question. PHOTOS: All of Busch's victories " See Junior's patriotic scheme NORMAN: So sorry, Junior Nation, but Sunday's race is more important to Kyle Busch . "Rowdy" has been on an incredible hot streak since returning from a broken leg last season -- eight wins in 37 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Four of those victories were his first at the tracks in Indianapolis, Homestead, Martinsville and Kansas, respectively. There are only two tracks remaining on the circuit where Busch has not won a Cup race -- Charlotte and Pocono. The career-sweep is a mind-boggling feat, making Sunday's event a massive deal for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. WINKLER: Sure, it would be impressive for Kyle Busch to add to his resume with a victory at Charlotte, but it would be an all-out celebration for Junior to win the Coca-Cola 600 . From downtown Kannapolis, North Carolina, (where Junior grew up) to Charlotte Motor Speedway is just a 25-minute drive, so one can only imagine the type of attention a victory like this would get. Plus, Junior has said repeatedly that winning the Coca-Cola 600 is a top priority of his and one of the gaps he'd most like to fill on his resume. NORMAN: Yeah, it's a big 'un for Junior on a personal level. History is at stake for Busch, though. Not just personal history, either -- team history. Check out some of the most historic races on the NASCAR circuit and their results over the past year -- 2015 Coca-Cola 600 ( Carl Edwards wins); 2015 Brickyard 400 ( Kyle Busch wins); 2015 Southern 500 ( Carl Edwards wins); Homestead finale ( Kyle Busch wins, and wins 2015 championship); 2016 Daytona 500 ( Denny Hamlin wins). JGR has a ridiculous streak at stake in these types of races, too . There's simply way more on the line for both "Rowdy" and the organization at large. WINKLER: See, I think the reverse is true. Because JGR has been so dominant this season, I think it's more important for Hendrick Motorsports , and particularly Junior, to re-establish their mojo. Earnhardt Jr. has wrecked in two of his last three points-paying races, has had some races where he qualified poorly but came through the field and others where he overcame in-race issues and the odds to post top fives. Considering how Junior has battled this season, I think he's tested and ready to fight for the whole 600 miles and be in a good position to win.
The Climb: Who will tame the Monster Mile?
NASCAR.com's Matthew Dillner and Chris Rice help you set your NASCAR Fantasy Live line-up prior to the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway.