The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' longest race of the year came down to the final laps as fuel mileage and a green-white-checkered restart led to a wild finish and a last lap pass for the win.
When Jimmie Johnson blew an engine running 10th, the caution flew and the race was pushed into overtime. With nearly all of the leaders close on fuel, it became a test to see which driver had saved enough fuel.
Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the field to the final green-white-checkered restart, but Kahne ran out of fuel going into the first turn. As Earnhardt Jr. powered to the lead, Kahne stacked the field up, with Jeff Burton spinning to the inside.
With no caution thrown, Earnhardt Jr. took the white flag in the lead, but ran out of gas going down the backstretch on the final lap. Exiting the fourth turn, Kevin Harvick was able to move around the outside of Earnhardt Jr. and take the win.
Leading only two laps all night, Harvick scored his third victory of the year and jumped three spots in the championship standings to second.
David Ragan and Joey Logano survived the incident on the restart and had enough fuel in the tank to finish second and third, respectively.
"We could have done all that in 40 laps and been at the house a couple hours ago," Ragan said. "That's just how competitive the Sprint Cup Series is. We can race for 600 miles and there's still 15 cars that's got a shot to win it at the end. So I think that is something that is good about our sport."
"If you didn't get them on the first couple laps of a restart, you might as well ride around the rest of the run," Logano said. "I think that's why a lot people did a lot of pit strategy, trying to get their car up there. It was a lot different race than what we normally see in Charlotte."
Kurt Busch also made his way through the late-race incident to finish fourth.
“It’s amazing that we can race 600 miles and it comes down to a green-white-checkered finish and fuel mileage," Busch said. "That’s the excitement that this sport brings and you never know when it’s going to be your time to have fuel or not. Today, we had enough and Steve (Addington) made a great call to come in and top-off for fuel. It worked out and we made the right calculations to make it to the end of the race.”
Roush Fenway Racing's Matt Kenseth dominated the early stages of Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, leading five times for a total of 103 laps. Stuck in the middle of the pack as pit strategy jumbled the field, Kenseth's car came to life in the closing laps of the race. However, Kenseth was forced to pit road with eight laps to go. When the checkered flag flew, Kenseth was 14th on the board.