Iracingone Rewind:/I Coca Cola 600
May 29, 2005 | 8:53 P.M. EST
Time of Race: 5 hours, 13 minutes, 52 seconds
Average Speed: 114.698 mph
Margin of Victory: .027 Seconds
Caution Flags: 22 for 103 laps; Laps 7-9 (#1 accident turn 2); 11-14 (#97 accident turn 2); 94-97 (Debris); 102-107 (#50,10,23,7,15 accident backstretch); 115-121 (Debris); 140-146 (#09 accident turn 3); 151-154 (#38 spun turn 4); 163-167 (#97 accident turn 2); 201-204 (#22 spun turn 4); 210-213 (#77 accident turn 1); 217-224 (#1,40,41 accident turn 2); 228-230 (#42 accident turn 2); 235-237 (#7 accident turn 4); 240-242 (#42 spun turn 4); 247-253 (#8,15,17,44 accident frontstretch); 267-269 (Debris); 290-292 (#07 spun frontstretch); 308-311 (Oil); 357-361 (Debris); 368-372 (#07 Stalled entrance pit road); 380-386 (#24,25,29,6,91 accident turn 1); 392-395 (#01,22 accident turn 4).
Before an estimated crowd of 165,000, Jimmie Johnson edged Bobby Labonte in a photo finish to win the Coca-Cola 600, posting his 16th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory and his third straight in this event.
KEYS TO VICTORY LANE
Johnson got even with Labonte as the duo raced through the fourth turn and was able to take the checkered flag by a nose at the finish
HIGHWAY TO HELL
The whole race was a demo derby with a NASCAR race record 22 caution flags flying for 103 laps. The DEI team of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Michael Waltrip took themselves out of the race, as well as Matt Kenseth and others, when the 8 car ran into the back of the 15 on the frontstretch near the midway point of the race.
ZERO TO HERO
Bobby Labonte started last in the field after a transmission change and carrying his teammate Jason Leffler's sponsor colors in Fed Ex, after Leffler failed to qualify for the race, nearly ended a 47-race draught with a second place finish.
HERO TO ZERO
Joe Nemechek was nine laps from winning for the first time since Kansas last October when a right rear tire went down, sending him into the fourth turn wall.
ROOKIE OF THE RACE
Kyle Busch looked for a sweep of the three NASCAR point events at Lowe's Motor Speedway during Race Weeks and had a solid night going in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 entry until an engine problem finally took him from contention.
• It is Johnson's second victory in 2005. He also won at Las Vegas in March.
• Johnson remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 71 ahead of second-place Greg Biffle.
• Johnson won the $90,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the point standings. He also won it at Las Vegas, winning $30,000. The bonus will roll-back to $10,000 at Dover.
• Johnson led just three times for 11 laps including a last lap lead change - the second time in 2005 that there has been a lead change on the final lap. Carl Edwards passed Johnson on the final lap at Atlanta in March to score his careerfirst victory.
• Johnson scored his third straight victory at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Fred Lorenzen is the only other driver to do win three straight here.
• Johnson has scored nine top-10 finishes in 12 races this season, more than any other driver.
• Johnson scored the 12th victory for car owner Rick Hendrick at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the most of any owner.
This was Hendrick's 135th victory as a car owner and fifth in 12 races this season.
• This marked the sixth victory for Chevrolet in 2005.
• The 21 lap leaders in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 is a record for this event. The most leaders in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race is 26 at Talladega set July 1986 and April 2001.
• The 22 caution periods in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 is an all-time record in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
• Bobby Labonte (second) posted his 11th top-five finish in 25 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Labonte scored his first top-five finish since he finished third at Pocono in June 2004. He climbed from 31st to 24th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Carl Edwards (third) posted a top-five finish in his first race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He scored his fifth top-10 finish in 12 races in 2005. Edwards has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 25 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He climbed from 13th to eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Jeremy Mayfield (fourth) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 23 race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He scored his second top-10 finish in 2005.
• Ryan Newman (fifth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in nine races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Newman has scored six top-10 finishes in 2005. He climbed from seventh to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Mark Martin (28th) ended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at Michigan last June.
• Six of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
• Jeff Gordon (30th) posted his fourth DNF in 2005. No other driver in the top-10 in the point standings has more than two. Gordon dropped from third to fifth in the point standings.
• Kurt Busch (43rd)posted his second DNF in 2005. This was the third time in his career that he finished 43rd in a race. He finished 43rd in both races at Michigan in 2001. Busch dropped from fifth to 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP standings. He holds a 47-race streak of ranking among the top 10 since Rockingham in February 2004.
• Martin Truex Jr. led four laps, the first laps led in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
• Ricky Rudd led one lap in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600, his first lap led since Kansas in October 2004.
• Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.... 16 drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson.
"There is no problem between me and Michael, and I think Michael understands that. He's definitely not the person I wanted to run into tonight."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
"To finish second really isn't all that bad, but to finish second kind of stinks, too."
RACING ONE RATING
On our scale of one to ten ice cold coca-colas....we'll give this one seven, plus a frosty Diet Coke with a lime thrown in for good measure. A five hour-plus race is really ridiculous and the fact that a major television network would devote so much time to one event is remarkable. (Pocono will be shortened next year, count on it.) But it in the end, despite the crashes, cautions and yellow flag laps, it turned out to be a great finish. Too bad some of those great old NASCAR "fans" decided to show their ignorance and throw cans and bottles at Johnson's car. Great show of sportsmanship everyone, kudos! Next it's a trip to "The Monster Mile," which thankfully was smart enough to shorten its races to 400 miles several years ago...Dover International Speedway next Sunday.