Once again, the "Closer" pulled off a classic victory, but it cost three writers a win in the pool.
It's well documented that the key to racing the longest event in NASCAR is to be patient. The race cannot be won in the first 100 miles, or for that matter the first 200 miles. Transitions in track conditions, weather conditions, and mere sight make it a true test for everyone.
To say everyone at the Charlotte Motor Speedway got more than they bargained for would be a very light interpretation.
Things seemed to be on schedule, until FOX's camera going across the track decided to have ropes come undone, and cause damage not only to top cars, but also fans. NASCAR had teams repair damage, under red, and suddenly the race went back to green as if nothing happened. But as the night wore on, and the lights became brighter, it was clear that was just the beginning.
Engines began letting go, and patience began wearing thin. Drivers took risks, ending in damaged equipment and disappointing finishes. Still, the cream of the crop made it to the front.
But, had it not been for one critical decision on the final caution, a few writers would be adding to their win total. Instead, NASCAR's own "closer" took care of business when it mattered most, as Kevin Harvick made it to the checkered flag ahead of the fastest car all afternoon and night, Kasey Kahne, to win his second race of the season.
Despite second not feeling as good as victory, it did feel good for a few writers. Only 4 of 13 writers had strong runs, with many having fallen to engine woes or accidents. At the same time, one writer still stays out front and consistent, but the lead begins dwindling.
Here's how everyone ended up after the marathon that is the Coca-Cola 600:
Patti Rodisch (446) Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd (0)
Billy Fellin (427) Joey Logano finished 5th (1)
Rob Tiongson (419) Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd (1)
Rob Blount (412) Kasey Kahne finished 2nd (1)
Dustin Parks (392) Kasey Kahne finished 2nd (0)
Kelly Crandall (381) Kasey Kahne finished 2nd (0)
Sal Sigala Jr. (377) Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd (0)
Ryan O'Hara (367) Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd (0)
James Broomhead (365) Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd (1)
Kara Martin (341) Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd (0)
Michael Hirshbein (332) Kyle Busch finished 38th (2)
Misan Akuya (318) Jamie McMurray finished 19th (0)
Christopher Leone (293) NO PICK SENT (0)
Next Race: As crazy as the marathon event at Charlotte was, maybe they should go back to the nickname that it had a few years ago, the "Beast of the Southeast." But then again, the next track already has a similar nickname, but it's reputation has been well-earned.
It's a drastic change from the last two weeks, not just in length, but in track surface. Up next on the schedule is a monster, a big monster...as in "Miles the Monster." The concrete marvel that has been known to be tough on equipment and drivers awaits.
Simply nicknamed the Monster Mile, NASCAR is heading to Dover for a true test of attrition.
Writers, it's time to battle a true beast, so have your picks for the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks turned in by Thursday, May 30, at 10 p.m. ET.