Motorsport News

Coca-Cola 600 Ending Suprises Everyone, Even the Winners

Nascar Cup Series

CONCORD, N.C. — The 2024 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday (May 26) won’t be remembered for its last-lap pass for the win like the Indianapolis 500 earlier that day. The white flag never flew. It won’t be remembered for any on-track scuffle. The one disagreement led to a civil conversation on pit road at the start of a weather delay. And it won’t be remembered for Kyle Larson completing the Double. He didn’t run a single lap in his NASCAR Cup Series racecar.

Instead, the ending surprised everyone, including yours truly as well as many in the media center.

After about two hours of waiting from when the lightning hold was initially displayed, the rain storm passed, the wind was gone and the Air Titans were deployed.

Yet about a half an hour later, NASCAR announced it was ending the race, 151 laps shy of its scheduled distance.

Media members, fans and even the winners — Christopher Bell and his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team — were stunned.

“I would say certainly it ramped up, and you could just feel the pressure and the intensity and the importance of that restart, the laps that were going on in that moment,” Bell said in his winners press conference. “The range of emotions that I went through from the time that we get out of the car, the lightning strikes, because we got out of the car without any rain.

“Then the lightning strikes hit, and we’re like, okay, we’re going to get right back in, and then the rain came and it’s pouring down rain, and we thought for sure they were going to call the race. Whenever they didn’t call the race and the rain stopped, we thought there was no way they were going to call the race now and we’re going to get back after it.

“I never in a million years thought that I was going to be winning that race on a rain-shortened event after they didn’t call it whenever the rain stopped. I thought for sure we’d be completing the event.”

When Bell emerged from his No. 20 Toyota, fans booed him, upset with the race ending. While he acknowledged their displeasure, he didn’t luck into the victory. Quite the contrary; he led a race-high 90 laps, including a win in stage 2.

“The fans probably aren’t going to say so, and that’s fine,” Bell said. “I say it every time that I win races, out of my eight wins, I’ve said it time and time again, that it’s not good enough and we’re here for more. That’s fine. I won a rain shortened…

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