Christopher Bell Takes Coca-Cola 600 in Rain Shortened Event

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Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC — May 26, 2024

For the third consecutive year, the Coca-Cola 600 is a sellout. Fans packed the stands and paid tribute to America’s Military and First Responders as pre-race activities focused on the real heroes this Memorial Day weekend. The windshield of each race car displays the name of an individual who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of this great nation.

Pre-Race at Charlotte / Lasco Press Photo

“Coca-Cola North America cherishes the opportunity to honor the valor and sacrifice of our military heroes and their families in such a significant way each NASCAR season,” said Chris Bigda, Senior Director of Sports Marketing at Coca-Cola North America. “We’re looking forward to partnering with Speedway Motorsports, NASCAR, and the racing community to show our appreciation throughout the entire NASCAR Salutes window, especially this Memorial Day weekend as we pay tribute during the 65th running of the Coca-Cola 600 to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Pre-Race Fly-over / Lasco Press Photo
Honor and Remember / Lasco Press Photo

A total of 10 of the 55 NASCAR Cup Series Charlotte Motor Speedway race winners are entered this weekend, with five of the 10 still looking for their first victory of the 2024 season – Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Austin Dillon.

Active Charlotte Race Winners (10)

Wins

Seasons

Jimmie Johnson

8

2016, 2014, 2009, 2005 sweep, 2004 sweep, 2003

Martin Truex Jr

3

2019, 2017, 2016

Brad Keselowski

2

2020, 2013

Ryan Blaney

1

2023

Denny Hamlin

1

2022

Kyle Larson

1

2021

Chase Elliott

1

2020

Kyle Busch

1

2018

Austin Dillon

1

2017

Joey Logano

1

2015

Chase Elliott will make his 300th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend becoming the 103rd different driver in the series to make 300 or more starts. In Elliott’s 299 previous starts, he has won a NASCAR Cup Series championship (2020), posted 19 wins, 98 top fives, 158 top 10s, and 12 poles. He has also led 5,226 laps.

Today’s Race

Kyle Larson qualified his car in the 10th position. Justin Allgaier is scheduled to fill in for Larson if he cannot make it to the track for the start of the race. It will require the car to start at the back of the field.

Kyle Larson – Justin Allgaier / Lasco Press Photo

Instead of three Stages there will be four tonight with the extra 100 miles run. All four Stages are 100 laps making up the 400-lap, 600-mile distance. Ty Gibbs starts on the pole with William Byron next to him on the front row.

Due to a weather delay in Indianapolis, Kyle Larson was completing lap 100 of the Indy 500 in seventh position when his stock car was fired to life by Justin Allgaier subbing in the Hendrick Motorsport #5 entry. This is the first start for Allgaier in a Cup Series Next Gen car.

Stage One

Ty Gibbs(54) let the pack of cars into turn one. The field lined up quickly into a single-file line as most drivers seemed content to log laps early in the 600-mile race.

Tyler Reddick(45) failed inspection multiple times and was penalized with a pit road drive-through penalty on the first lap. He came off pit road just in front of Pole Sitter Ty Gibbs. He was able to maintain an interval ahead of the leader and did not get swallowed up by the freight train behind him.

Twenty laps in, Reddick had moved further away from Gibbs. William Byron(24), Christopher Bell(20), Martin Truex Jr.(19), and Alex Bowman(48) were the top five.

Green flag pitstops began at lap 40. Gibbs pitted on lap 43. Kyle Busch had an uncontrolled tire on his pit stop and was issued a pit road pass-through penalty.

Chris Buescher(17) and Michael McDowell(34) ran the longest. They pitted 49 laps in and may be on a one-stop per-Stage strategy.

Gibbs regained the lead when pit stops cycled through. On lap 72 Byron caught and passed Gibbs. Bell and Truex were still in the mix, running third and fourth. Denny Hamlin(11) moved up to the fifth position.

Justin Allgaier(5) went a lap down, but he was running in the lucky dog position. He actually passed the leader and unlapped himself. On Lap 86, BJ McLeod spun down the front stretch and Jimmie Johnson was the first car a lap down and benefited from getting the free pass onto the lead lap.

The race restarted with seven laps to go in the Stage. Byron jumped out ahead of Gibbs, Bowman, Bell, and Truex followed.

As the Stage ended, Kyle Larson was in the lead at Indy with 20 laps to go.

Stage One Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 24 William Byron 10
2 54 Ty Gibbs 9
3 48 Alex Bowman 8
4 20 Christopher Bell 7
5 19 Martin Truex Jr. 6
6 23 Bubba Wallace 5
7 12 Ryan Blaney* 4
8 6 Brad Keselowski* 3
9 4 Josh Berry * 2
10 34 Michael McDowell* 1

.*Ford Mustang Dark Horse Drivers

Stage Two

Ty Gibbs stayed out during the Stage-ending caution and led the field to the green flag. Ross Chastain(1) moved to the front for 10 laps until the fresh tires of Bell drove to the front and established the lead for the early part of Stage Two.

In Indy, Josef Newgarden with Team Penske battled Pato O’Ward as they swapped the lead over the final laps. Newgarden made a final lap pass to win the 2024 Indianapolis 500. Kyle Larson finished 18, completing all 500 miles of the event, and quickly left the track to fly to Charlotte. A pit road penalty ultimately took Larson out of contention for the win.

Green flag pit stops began at lap 143. Last year’s Charlotte winner, Ryan Blaney hit the wall and did damage to the right front of his racecar. A long pitstop followed as his crew tried to make repairs. Dropping Blaney from contention for a repeat victory.

The caution flag came out on lap 157 as Blaney’s crew was unable to repair his vehicle. NASCAR had to throw the yellow to bring a wrecker to the pit road and tow away the disabled vehicle.

Truex and Josh Berry(4) led the field back to the restart. Chase Elliott(9) and Daniel Suarez(99) followed in row two. Elliott took the lead away from Truex briefly until William Byron blew by to lead for the third time tonight.

On lap 170, Noah Gragson spun after hitting Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(47) and hit the inside wall on the backstretch. With the caution out the top five cars stayed on the track. From sixth position on back, the remainder of the leaders pitted.

Byron drove away on the restart. Bubba Wallace(23), Bell, and Hamlin drove around Elliott in the first few laps of green flag racing.

Harrison Burton(21) spun down the backstretch bringing out the caution late in Stage Two. The Stage will end under caution as there is not enough time to organize a restart.

As is the tradition every Memorial Day Weekend at Charlotte, the field comes down pit road at the halfway point of the race, stops, and turns off their engines to share in a moment of silence with the entire speedway. A touching scene to honor our nation’s veterans.

Stage Two Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 20 Christopher Bell 10
2 24 William Byron 9
3 23 Bubba Wallace 8
4 11 Denny Hamlin 7
5 6 Brad Keselowski* 6
6 48 Alex Bowman 5
7 9 Chase Elliott 4
8 4 Josh Berry* 3
9 1 Ross Chastain 2
10 45 Tyler Reddick 1

*Ford Mustang Dark Horse Drivers

Stage Three

There are reports of thunderstorms in the area. With two Stages complete, the race is official. As the cars line up for the restart, there are 34 cars on the lead lap. It will be interesting to see how aggressive things get if rain approaches the track.

Bell, Byron, Brad Keselowski(6), Tyler Reddick, and Bubba Wallace are the lead pack.

With the threat of rain very clear, Bell and Keselowski are battling for the lead. Corey LaJoie got loose and spun through turns one and two bringing out the caution. This is where the crew chiefs earn the big money. Making a decision to pit or not. Could use some advice from the team meteorologist!

Christopher Bell / Lasco Press Photo

They say the weather is still 15 minutes away. Everyone pits, it is too big of a chance to stay out. Bell is first off pit road, Keselowski, Reddick, Gibbs, and Byron follow. The big screen on the backstretch shows Kyle Larson’s plane landing at the airport. He should be at the track shortly.

Bell, with a push from his teammate Gibbs, gets in front of Keselowski on the restart. The two cars immediately establish an interval between themselves and the rest of the field. William Byron comes out of a three-wide battle for third. He, too, establishes some space between himself and the pack. But he cannot gain on the leader.

On lap 246 the yellow flag flies for rain on the racetrack. Just as Larson lands on the helicopter pad outside the speedway. A lightning strike close to the track brings action to a stop. The cars park on pit road and the grandstands are evacuated. And the skies open up soaking the track.

Results of the 2024 Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway

POS CAR DRIVER LAPS
1 20 Christopher Bell 249
2 6 Brad Keselowski 249
3 24 William Byron 249
4 45 Tyler Reddick 249
5 11 Denny Hamlin 249
6 54 Ty Gibbs 249
7 9 Chase Elliott 249
8 1 Ross Chastain 249
9 48 Alex Bowman 249
10 4 Josh Berry 249
11 23 Bubba Wallace 249
12 19 Martin Truex Jr. 249
13 5 Justin Allgaier 249
14 22 Joey Logano 249
15 8 Kyle Busch 249
16 34 Michael McDowell 249
17 38 Todd Gilliland 249
18 31 Daniel Hemric 249
19 43 Erik Jones 249
20 2 Austin Cindric 249
21 77 Carson Hocevar 249
22 51 Justin Haley 249
23 17 Chris Buescher 249
24 99 Daniel Suarez 249
25 14 Chase Briscoe 249
26 41 Ryan Preece 249
27 3 Austin Dillon 249
28 16 Shane Van Gisbergen 249
29 84 Jimmie Johnson 249
30 42 John Hunter Nemechek 249
31 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 249
32 21 Harrison Burton 249
33 71 Zane Smith 249
34 15 Kaz Grala 249
35 7 Corey LaJoie 249
36 50 Ty Dillon 247
37 66 BJ McLeod 241
38 10 Noah Gragson 170
39 12 Ryan Blaney 143
40 44 JJ Yeley 114