Denny Hamlin Wins after Exciting Finish at Darlington

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Denny Hamlin Wins after Exciting Finish at Darlington

Postby Bryce Turner » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:21 pm

By: Bryce Turner

Race Details: Winner: Denny Hamlin; Track: Darlington Raceway; Laps: 367 (100,100,167); Race Name: Bojangles’ Southern 500

Kevin Harvick started on the pole for tonight’s race. The tradition in recent years has been for teams to run throwback paint schemes at Darlington. Thirty five teams running throwback schemes in this race.

An early caution came on lap 16 when Trevor Bayne hit the wall with a flat tire. A.J. Allmendinger spun while trying to avoid Bayne.

Harvick had some trouble on pit road, with a slow stop dropping him to 10th. Kyle Busch won the race off pit road, before being passed by Kyle Larson on the restart.

On lap 41, yellow flag when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun and hit the wall. Larson continued to lead until late in stage one. Truex gained ground, making it a close battle. In a drag race to the start/finish line, Truex edged Larson by about half a car length for the stage win.

A stage one or two win gives a driver one playoff point, these bonus points carrying over through most of the playoffs. Truex has been dominant with stage wins, this his 16th of the season.

Larson won the race off pit road. A short time later, caution on lap 125 after Daniel Suarez slowed with a flat tire. The next yellow flag came a little while after that, on lap 156 after Allmendinger and Matt DiBenedetto spun.

Hamlin took only two tires on pit road, followed by Truex then Larson, with the others taking four. Truex stayed close as the green-flag laps continued before taking the lead on lap 179.

With 4 to go in stage two, caution after Gray Gaulding spun. The stage ended under caution, giving Truex his 17th stage win of the season.

Truex had a slow pit stop with the right-front tire change, dropping him to 5th. Hamlin won off pit road, leading a couple circuits before another caution, as David Ragan spun on lap 207.

On lap 259, Truex cycled to the lead after a round of green-flag pit stops. Truex pitted one lap earlier, meaning an additional lap with fresher tires. On lap 261, yellow flag for debris.

Hamlin won the race off pit road. Later, with 54 to go, Hamlin slowed to pit but missed the entrance, needing to drive around again before entering the pits.

Kyle Busch led before pitting, while Harvick cycled through to the top spot. Harvick pitted early with a possible tire issue, but that started a round of stops as others followed a short time later.

With 41 to go, Truex returned to P1. As the laps wound down, Hamlin made quick gains, with about 15 laps fresher tires. With 6 to go, Hamlin having trouble passing the lap car of Landon Cassill, giving the car a bump and driving past as Cassill hit the wall, no caution.

With 3 to go, Hamlin caught Truex as the driver hit the wall with a flat tire, allowing Hamlin to take the lead. Denny Hamlin winning at Darlington, sweeping the weekend after an Xfinity Series victory on Saturday. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones rounded out the top five. Truex limped around for an 8th place finish, last on the lead lap.
Bryce Turner is chief NASCAR correspondent for carnuts.ca.
Bryce Turner
 
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