Kevin Harvick leads halfway in Coca-Cola 600

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At the halfway point of the 400-lap Coca-Cola 600, Kevin Harvick leads after 200 laps at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Harvick also was in the lead after the first 100 laps. There are 200 more laps remaining in NASCAR’s longest and most grueling race of the Sprint Cup season.

Brad Keselowski is second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers.

Running sixth through 10th were Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano.

Only three drivers have led laps in the event: Johnson led the most laps (91) at the halfway mark, followed by Harvick (79) and Keselowski (30).

Despite fighting back spasms, Gordon remains behind the wheel.

Kurt Busch, who is attempting to become the first driver to race 1,100 miles in the same day between the Indianapolis 500 (finished sixth) and the 600, was running 13th with 200 more laps to go.

Busch was forced to start from the 42nd position because he was unable to arrive at CMS in time for the mandatory driver’s and crew chiefs meeting.

Busch’s younger brother, Kyle, was forced to start from the back of the 43-car field due to driving a back-up car, having crashed his primary ride during Saturday’s second of two practice sessions.

Kyle Busch had climbed up to 17th by Lap 200.

The first 108 laps were run caution-free until debris on the racetrack brought out the yellow flag to slow the field.

Danica Patrick ran very strong in the first 100 laps, climbing as high as second place before falling back to 24th at the midpoint.

There have been just three cautions for 15 laps at the halfway point of the race. The only wreck was David Gilliland, who was sent into the wall when a tire gave way on Lap 161.

“We blew a right-front tire there,” Gilliland said. “We did the wave-around trying to make up some track position, but just blew a right-front. It got real tight the lap before and just blew a right-front.

“It’s a tough way for this to end. We were looking forward to finishing it off, but we’re not gonna do it tonight.”

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Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool