It was a global game of oneupmanship Sunday as we witnessed three spectacular finishes that won't soon be forgotten. The day began with a Grand Slam breakfast at the Monaco Grand Prix as we saw Sebastian Vettel hold on to win after a late race red flag allowed him to get new tires. The hundredth anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 was the lunchtime BBQ with Dan Wheldon winning in the last few hundred yards.
Finally, the shadows lengthened and the temperature dropped into the low 90s, and it was time for the 600 mile, 6 course dinner. The Coca Cola 600 found Kevin Harvick celebrating his win after passing, an out of fuel, Dale Earnhardt Jr a few hundred yards from the checkered flag.
Harvick gets yet another win after coming from out of nowhere. Happy now has three wins this season, and has led less than a dozen laps in those three races. The Closer is living proof that the only lap that matters is the last one.
Dale Jr only led two laps Sunday night, but he was in position to win on the final restart. It was heartbreaking for his fans as he ran out of gas going into turn three on the last lap. He wound up in 7th place as Harvick led a parade by him coming off turn four. Gas strategy also payed off for David Ragan (2nd), Joey Logano (3rd), and Reagan Smith (8th). Ricky Stenhouse Jr finished 11th in his first Cup start.
Or, lack of. Three debris cautions were thrown during the 402 laps, including at least one for a "beverage" can on the track apron. Yet, on the green, white, checkered attempt, a 3,500 pound stock car on the apron does not warrant a yellow? I'm sure the fact that Dale Jr was out front and low on gas had nothing to do with that decision.
Super teams, HMS and JGR had their share of ills at Charlotte. For the second race in a row, Earnhardt was HMS's highest finisher. No, that's not a good thing for them. Mark Martin triggered a wreck, Jeff Gordon was a lap down, and Jimmie Johnson's blown engine (causing the G,W,C finish) may have cost Jr a win. JGR's best finisher was Logano, also not a good thing. Kyle Busch spun out twice, and Denny Hamlin's car had a carburetor transplant, mid-race.
The red flags here at VFF usually fly for things that need to be stopped, but, for the first time ever, I saw nothing Sunday that disappointed me. Those three races, at least the endings, will always be remembered as perhaps the greatest day of racing I've ever seen.