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Harvick went down a lap because of an unscheduled stop for a loose left rear wheel on lap 125, but he got the free pass to get back onto the lead lap during the DiBenedetto caution.

For the thousands of fans who waited out a almost one hour, 40-minute rain delay, both watching on TV and in the grandstands at Charlotte, it was a special moment. However, he was able to score a stage win and take the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points lead.

It was about being the No. 3.

Austin Dillon won the race, earning his first NASCAR cup victory. His grandfather's team made the slanted No. 3 famous by winning six championships and 67 races in that auto with Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel. "Where typically there's the least grip, tonight it was the best grip", Truex said, adding that the lower groove Sunday felt bumpy and slippery. There's always haters, but there's a lot of support, too. So really proud of them. The first auto he drove to a Cup win had a big American flag on the side, the first thing he did after winning a Cup race was dab to the crowd, and the second thing he did was slide across some infield grass.

A young driver's first win in NASCAR's biggest series coupled with a victory celebration surrounding an iconic auto that once made trips to Victory Lane seem easy. I'd prefer the series just ditch the second Charlotte date altogether and just go to a goal built road course like Laguna Seca, but Bruton Smith would probably spontaneously combust if he lost a date, so this will be the best we get.

"Yeah, I saw parts and pieces flying", Elliott said. It just makes it that much more special. "I could see him saving".

It was a classic win for a guy whose abilities have been overshadowed by the number on the side of his auto. Childress heard critics pick apart his grandson's skills and demeanor the past four seasons, with some claiming it was an embarrassment to sit him in the same numbered auto that Earnhardt led to six of seven championships.

Nobody could catch Kyle Larson when he was running in clean air during the first two 20-lap segments of the NASCAR All-Star race last weekend. He sat 22nd in the standings.

Truex Jr.is the series' new points leader, going five points up on Larson. Did it also put Dillon front and center among the next wave of racers supplanting retired or departing stars like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and, after this season, Dale Earnhardt Jr.? At the end of the race, I really didn't know what it needed to make it better.

Click on video window below about the No. 3 auto back in Victory Lane.

As Martin Truex Jr.

The Cup Series points leader's run at a Coca-Cola 600 championship ended late in the third stage when he hit the wall in turn three at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt's best chance to win here came in 2011 when he ran out of gas on turn four of the final lap while leading the race. There at the end, somehow we ran him down.

The annual All-Star Race has undergone numerous changes, ranging from minor to borderline ridiculous, in an attempt to create close, exciting finishes. 295-296; D. Hamlin 297-306; Kyle Busch 307-329; M. Truex Jr. Whether it was a nailbiter in Daytona previous year, mishap at Kansas in 2016 or fuel mileage in Charlotte, Truex has seen so many strong efforts fall short. "But we got the win a year ago".

Childress said he never doubted the decision to bring back the No. 3 and rarely goes anywhere without fans telling him how thankful they are he made the decision.

But fuel-mileage, that's another thing. "A win is a win".

The Coca-Cola 600 proved to be a very exciting finish to a mixed bag of results from 2017's "10 Days of Thunder". "I love trying to represent it, and I think the fans that I do have love to see it out there and I enjoy that". He would want this win. And when he ran out, I figured I'd go back in and save where I was lifting, and it worked out.

Some of that pressure is now gone. "I can't say enough about my team and what they continue to do". "I feel good in the number".


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