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The Winner's Circle: Your Friendly Race Week Wrap Up (Coca-Cola 600 Edition)

CONCORD, NC - MAY 25:  David Reutimann, driver of the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Reutimann won the Coca-Cola 600 due to a rain out on lap 227.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clifford Davidson Jr.Contributor IMay 26, 2009

Welcome to the first ever Bleacher Report edition of the Winner's Circle and ladies and gentleman...it is finally over.

After four red flag periods spanning over three and a half hours, NASCAR officials called the race after lap 227, giving David Reutimann his first career Sprint Cup Series race at the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race.

 

Longest race indeed

First off, give all the credit in the world to NASCAR for trying their best to get all 600 miles in. They did everything short of putting a giant tarp over the speedway to get this race going again.

But in the end, they just didn't have enough of a window, with even more threatening weather the way, to complete the scheduled distance. Getting to halfway was a miracle in itself.

So without further ado...Here are the five facts you can take from Monday's race:

 

1. Rick Hendrick has to make some kind of change to the 88 team this week.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s performance Monday was one of the saddest excuses I think I ever seen.There is no way—in that equipment—this team should be that far off.

It's not a matter of making the Chase anymore for this group, it's about simply being competitive week in and week out, and right now, they're not even doing that.

However, this week he did manage to find his pitbox.

 

2. Juan Pablo Montoya is a legit Chase contender.

He has one of the fastest cars this week, posting an eighth-place finish to remain 14th in points, just 31 out of the final spot held by Mark Martin. Montoya has many reason to smile so far, especially with Sonoma a few weeks away.

 

3. Jeff Gordon is still the points leader, as unlikely as that sounds if you watched the race.

Gordon, who started third ,battled an extremely tight car in the opening 100 laps, falling as low as 29th in the running order.

But the team seemed to find to balance after the first red flag delay, and Gordon went on to finish 14th and increase his lead over Tony Stewart to 44 points.

 

4. The other Gordon, Robby, posted his first top five since Watkins Glen in 2007 where he finished fifth.

 

5. On lap 166, the red flag was flown as everyone paid tribute to the men and women who have paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom.

A special shout out to to all of the Marines who are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reutimann may have the won Monday, but the the star of the day has to be the persistent rains that turned this into the 40 hours of Lowes. Hopefully next week, the weather will be less wet.

 

Next Week

The Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway

Defending Winner: Kyle Busch

That's all for the Winner's Circle, have a great Memorial's Day and stay dry everyone.

 

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