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NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Results In Another Uneventful Race; Drivers Offer Theories

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Greg Biffle dominated the majority of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but when he faded, it was Kasey Kahne who assumed control and cruised to his first victory of the year.

And in between there wasn't really a whole lot of side-by-side racing or any exciting moments that fans will be talking about for weeks to come.

That's been the trend this year in NASCAR, which has seen relatively tame racing for the first third of the season.

So what gives?

Denny Hamlin, who finished second to Kahne, had his reasons as to why Sunday night's race (RESULTS here) was the latest in a series of rather mundane affairs.

"You could put a lot of cars up front and they'll run there for quite a long time," Hamlin said. "Track position means so much in our sport now, you run around the pace of the guys around you. That's all you can do. Once they held their track position, they honestly made some good moves."

As for the lack of cautions – Sunday's race had the fewest in a Coke 600 since 1999 – and why drivers are seemingly less prone to putting themselves in precarious spots than in years past, Hamlin had a theory on that as well.

"Bottom line, I think everyone is so concerned with points nowadays, you know if you wreck and you finish in the 30s, you're going to take 10 races to get that back," Hamlin said. "I think everyone's just a little bit more patient on restarts, as crazy as that sounds. It's just not as wild on restarts as it used to be a couple years ago.

"Everyone is minding their Ps and Qs, trying to get the best finish out of their day, knowing the one thing you can't overcome in a race is a crash."

Hamlin might be on to something, considering a year ago Carl Edwards lost the championship on a tiebreaker which illustrated just how valuable a single point is in the grand scheme of things.

"I think that some people got hurt by crashes early on in the year last year and they weren't able to recover simply because these races are going green," Hamlin said. "There's not as many wrecks.

"I think everyone just recognizes the points system and sees how it works. Second year on it. We know you finish in the 30s, it's almost like not even showing up. Five points, that's not much."

His teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch, believes the problem – if you want to call it that – stems from the depth of talent competing on a weekly basis.

"It's due to you got the best drivers in the world out there each and every weekend," said Busch, who finished third. "We all feel like we know what we're doing. We don't have to run over each other anymore to pass. That's why it's a good, clean race.

"You have 43 of the best guys out there doing it every single weekend. I think that's just a matter of it."

Busch's observation has some merit when you consider that of the 43 drivers who made up Sunday's field, only 14 of them have yet win to a Sprint Cup Series race. Never before has NASCAR had so many drivers who on a given week could realistically end up in Victory Lane.

Then again, sometimes it can just be a matter of a driver and team hitting on something and simply being that much better than the competition. Not every race is going to end in a photo finish, much in the same manner not every football game is going to be decided on a last second play.

And just maybe there was another reason NASCAR's longest race ended in record time – a reason that had nothing to do with aerodynamics or anything else related to what was going on at the track.

"Everybody is trying to make last call," Hamlin quipped.

If that's the case, then, who can blame them?