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Nashville overtime chaos leads to unforgettable finish

LEBANON, Tenn. -- Zane Smith could only shake his head as he stood on pit road next to his No. 71 Chevrolet. The reason is that he had just completed a truly unbelievable race at Nashville Superspeedway, one featuring a NASCAR Cup Series record five overtime attempts and 15 cautions for a total of 79 laps.

Smith wasn't happy about missing out on his first Cup win, but he also acknowledged that Sunday's race had a fair dose of insanity.

"I mean, ever since the (No. 2) spun (to send the race to overtime), it was wild," Smith said, "as is every overtime restart in NASCAR."

Sunday's race was only set to be 300 laps. The drivers completed 331 as the first four overtime attempts had multiple cars running out of fuel and others spinning to kick off multi-car incidents. This all occurred after a weather delay lasting one hour and 21 minutes.

Joey Logano, who won his first race of the season after going a staggering 110 laps on a single tank of fuel, ran out as he crossed the start-finish line.

Kyle Larson was a fitting example of how unpredictable Sunday's race turned out to be. He ran out of fuel on one of the overtime attempts, but he still salvaged an eighth-place finish.

"Just a lot of craziness there at the end," Larson said after the race. "There were a lot of cars short on fuel and we were one of them. Just a lot of mess.

"On the first restart, I was just trying to get Denny (Hamlin) washed off the bottom so that I could get some clean air and give myself an opportunity to win," Larson said. "I felt like from the second position, I wouldn't have a chance.

"I just tried to run in with him and got myself really tight and into Ross (Chastain), so caused that crash. And then on the next restart, I just got out of shape and almost caused a crash there. On the third one, we ran out of fuel taking off."

It was impossible to predict who would win Sunday's race at Nashville Superspeedway. Every time a driver would put themselves into position for a win, something unexpected would happen.

Christopher Bell led a race-high 131 laps. He spun into the outside wall after experiencing aero issues. Denny Hamlin was in the lead for multiple overtime attempts, but he had to pit for fuel.

Kyle Busch put himself in the second row for multiple restarts, but he failed to finish the race after being involved in the crash that sent the race to the fourth overtime attempt.

"I'm surprised we lasted that many green-white-checkers honestly," Hamlin said. "Certainly, stinks being 15 seconds from a win at the end and then 10 seconds from a win, and then to finish 12th. It's just part of it."

"Craziness" was only one of the words drivers used to describe the final run to the checkered flag at Nashville. "Chaotic" was a word used by Ryan Preece, who worked his way to a fourth-place finish while other drivers ran out of fuel.

For NASCAR fans, a fitting description could simply be "unforgettable."