Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Driver Perseveres Through NASCAR’s Longest Race
Date: May 24, 2015
Event: Coca-Cola 600 (Round 12 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 12th/21st (Running, completed 399 of 400 laps)
Point Standing: 30th (202 points, 271 out of first)
Winner: Carl Edwards of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
At 600 miles in length, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway is the longest race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Tony Stewart persevered throughout the 400-lap contest around the 1.5-mile oval on Sunday, wheeling his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to a 21st-place finish.
Stewart started 12th in the late-afternoon sun and in the four hours and three minutes that followed, he manhandled his Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 machine as it struggled to cut through the center of the track’s 24-degree banked corners.
“We have to figure out a way to make the car cut the first third (of the corner),” said Stewart on lap 251.
It could also have been lap 51 or 451. The refrain was the same, even as day turned to night. Nonetheless, Stewart remained focused on getting the best finish possible.
When the race came down to a fuel mileage battle, Stewart feathered the throttle of his Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy, going the final 60 laps on a single tank of fuel to ensure a top-25 finish.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished ninth after leading three times for 26 laps. It was Harvick’s 11th top-10 this season and his 12th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 10th after leading three times for 118 laps. It was his eighth top-10 in 30 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte, his fifth top-10 of 2015 and the ninth straight race that Busch has finished among the top-15.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 22nd.
Carl Edwards won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 24th career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at Charlotte.
Greg Biffle finished 4.785 seconds behind Edwards in the runner-up spot, while Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five. Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Harvick and Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were eight caution periods for 39 laps with four drivers failing to finish.
With round 12 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR in the championship point standings. He is first with 473 points, 41 ahead of second-place Truex. Busch is 14th with 327 points, 146 out of first. Patrick is 18th with 292 points, 181 out of first. Stewart is 30th with 202 points, 271 out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks on Sunday, May 31at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.