American Racing

NASCAR: Hendrick Gets Historic Win at Charlotte

Hendrick Motorsports: 269 wins.

Memorial Day weekend brought us the longest race of the season: the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With it came a dominant performance by Kyle Larson and Hendrick Motorsports.

Long Gone Larson

The 2021 Coca Cola 600 set off to a clean start with most cars running up near the wall. Visibility was as tricky as it always is at Charlotte as turns 1 and 2 were in the shade while 3 and 4 were right in the sunshine. Pole sitter Kyle Larson was up and running and didn’t lose a step until the first set of pitstops arrived.

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All but six cars made it to pit road for tires and fuel from laps 46 to 50. Brad Keselowski was among the few who stayed out, nonetheless, he had the pace of a limping turtle and as the caution flag never came around, he was forced to pit.

Kyle Larson eventually got the lead back and got the first playoff point of the night. He was followed by teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron. There was no yellow flag for Brad K and, none for everyone else, race went clean all the way up to that point.

Deja Vu

Stage two had little to no changes until lap 32 when Chase Elliott stepped up to a loose #5 Camaro to take the lead. The reigning champ thought lost his spot to the number five about twenty laps later after pitstops.

Kurt Busch lost all power in his car on lap 42 bringing the first caution of the day. His #1 Chevy headed straight to the garage area to fix a broken oil pump belt. He managed to get back to the racetrack late in the stage, nonetheless, things didn’t go as planned. Busch ended making quite a bit of noise as a big “bang” and a bunch of smoke ended his race shortly after.

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Things looked just like Dover halfway through the race. It was all Hendrick: Larson, Elliott, and Byron took the top 3. 200 laps down, 200 more to go.

Under the Lights

Sunset was coming down at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with it so did track temperatures.  Larson dominated the first half of the 100-lap set until the first set up pitstops. By that point, sunset had turned into night and drivers were racing under the lights.

Everyone but Anthony Alfredo and Daniel Suarez stopped to pit. Among the position changes was Kyle Busch. The 2019 Champion started 18th but made some steady progress to the top of the pack, bumping Hendrick’s dominance running in 3rd.

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William Byron started breathing in Larson’s neck thanks to a little help by Erik Jones. The #43 Mustang ran slow in the tail end of the lead lap and helped number 24 catch up. Nonetheless, #5 held on to his lead and won the third stage. Not only that but, he also broke the 1000 led laps mark in the season.

Race would be over by now on any normal Sunday. Not tonight though as we had 100 more laps to go.  The rare stage 4 was up next.

One Last Push

Pre-green flag pitstops saw Kyle Busch take yet another spot to climb to 2nd. When asked by FOX how he could pass Larson, he jokingly said “I’m gonna have to wreck him. I don’t know man, he’s too fast.”, A joke, but a statement to Larson’s incredible speed over the last couple of weeks.

There was no need for the M&m’s man to wreck anyone as he was quickly set back into 4th after the restart. Still, there was plenty of race left and enough time to make some moves up the front. Laps ticked down to the 70-lap mark and Busch didn’t lose a spot but, he didn’t win any either.

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Cars were bumping and sliding near the last thirty laps of the race. Busch didn’t give 3rd place easily and traded paint with William Byron to get past him. Eventually, Josh Bilicki played against him and cost him the spot.

Larson kept running at the front until the very end. He got his second win of the season while Hendrick Motorsports wrote its name in the history books.

269 Wins

Rick Hendrick has become the winningest team owner in history. All-Star Racing, now known as Hendrick Motorsport has brought home its 269th win. With it, they have surpassed Petty Enterprise as the team with the most wins. On top of that, they did it with their iconic number 5.

What’s Next for NASCAR?

The Greatest Season Ever will take on yet another road course next week. They are set to make their traditional trip to Sonoma California for the Toyota Save-Mart 350.

Missed last week’s race? Check it out HERE  

Featured Image: Getty Images

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