Kevin Harvick Silences Junior Nation Once More in 2011, Winning the Coca-Cola 600 in the Last Turn

May 29, 2011 No Comments

Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 after a bizarre turn of events, where the packed grandstands saw fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. lose the lead in the last turn of the 400 mile race.

Harvick has only led nine laps in his three wins and twice, he has won at the expense of Earnhardt Jr. and Jr. Nation. Martinsville was Harvick’s last win, where he passed Earnhardt Jr. with three laps remaining.

I feel like complete crap, to tell you the truth,” Harvick said. “Man, when I saw that thing slowing down, I was like, I really want to win the race, but why can’t it be on a day when we’re running bad or have something going wrong. I think everybody sitting up here would say we want the 88 to win and they’re so close to winning.”

Earnhardt’s win-less streak now stretches to 105, with his last win coming June 15, 2008 at Michigan International Speedway, where he was on the better end of the fuel mileage game. Despite the devastation, Earnhardt Jr. stays optimistic.

“We’re really happy with our effort. These guys just have to lift their heads up man, because we are doing a good thing, said Earnhardt Jr. “We’re building a good team and building good chemistry and they keep their heads up and we’ll keep proving. That’s what is important. If we let this bother us too much, we won’t improve as much as we should. So, we want to win races and we are getting close enough that a couple of them are about to fall in lap and when we get that little extra stint, we’ll be in business.”

Earnhardt Jr. was able to maintain momentum to the finish line, salvaging a seventh place finish, putting him fourth in the points standings. He was also the highest finishing Hendrick Motorsports car, with Jeff Gordon in 20th. Jimmie Johnson (blown engine) and Mark Martin (wreck) both suffered DNQ’s, finishing in 28th and 34th, respectively.

“What I’m taking from this week is that we had a fast car. Unfortunately four laps from the end we lost an engine, which never happens,” said Johnson. “We’ve had a lot of things go our way over the years and the last couple of weeks, things have not gone our way and that’s just how it goes. So we’ll dig in deep and work hard and get this Lowe’s car back where it belongs.

David Ragan was the highest finishing Roush Fenway Racing driver in second, which broke up a potential third weekend sweep in a row for RFR.

Joey Logano scored his best finish of the 2011 season, bouncing back from early troubles which put him a lap down. Logano now finds himself just out of the top 20 in points and feels that the they are just getting started.

“Hopefully, this will put some momentum on our side and we have some good race tracks coming up for us. We need it and we’ll get our Home Depot ride going again and we’ll be just be fine.”

Kurt Busch turned in a fourth place finish for Team Penske and A.J. Allendinger finished in fifth after starting on the front row. Marcos Ambrose finished in sixth with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith, David Reutimann and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top ten.

Here are the complete results from Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. David Ragan
3. Joey Logano
4. Kurt Busch
5. A.J. Allmendinger
6. Marcos Ambrose
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
8. Regan Smith
9. David Reutimann
10. Denny Hamlin
11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
12. Juan Pablo Montoya
13. Greg Biffle
14. Matt Kenseth
15. Clint Bowyer
16. Carl Edwards
17. Tony Stewart
18. Brian Vickers
19. Brad Keselowski
20. Jeff Gordon
21. Jeff Burton
22. Kasey Kahne
23. Casey Mears
24. Bobby Labonte
25. Travis Kvapil
26. Martin Truex Jr.
27. Dave Blaney
28. Jimmie Johnson
29. Paul Menard
30. Mike Bliss
31. Ryan Newman
32. Kyle Busch
33. David Gilliland
34. Mark Martin
35. Landon Cassill
36. David Starr
37. Jamie McMurray
38. Robby Gordon
39. Michael McDowell
40. David Stremme
41. Joe Nemechek
42. J.J. Yeley
43. Mike Skinner

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