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Drive It Like You Stole It (Literally!)

Coca-Cola 600
Jerry Markland/Getty Images Sport

It’s true, not once, but twice on Sunday, each potential winner of the Indy 500 (J.R. Hildebrand) and the Coca-Cola 600 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) were both losers when the checkered flags came out.

The end of the Indy 500 was really good, although rookie Hildebrand, on his 800th and his final turn of the race, crashed into the wall, thus setting up Englishman Dan Wheldon, who had led ONE lap the entire race, to cruise to his 2nd Indy victory.  Even after the milk-drinking ceremony, Hildebrand’s camp protested, since when a crash occurs, naturally a caution flag is displayed, but since the race was essentially over, Hildebrand could not the be the winner.

On the other hand, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s problem getting to victory lane, which his has not done in 105 races, was fuel economy, in other words, he ran out of gas.  And again, Jr. was within a earshot of victory, when his tank gave out on the final backstretch at Charlotte.  The spoiler?  A guy who has been notorious for his off the track behavior lately, Kevin Harvick, sped past Dale Jr. for the win; Jr. ended up finishing 7th.  Harvick is now 2nd behind Carl Edwards in the Nascar Sprint Cup points standings; Jr. is not far behind, he’s in 4th place after Charlotte.

Better luck next time!

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