Denny Hamlin overcame what seemed as a pretty big hurdle,when he overshot the pit-road entrance with 44 laps remaining, had to get back onto the track and then slow down and enter the pits for his final stop,before that happended,Hamlin had been leading the pack and looked as though he might cruise to a win.
Hamlin needed to chip away at the huge lead Truex ended up building for himself,with 3 laps to go,Hamlin was following very closely behind Truex, Martin Truex Jr. however blew a tire with Hamlin breathing down his neck,and Hamlin took full advantage leading the rest of the way,followed by Kyle Busch,Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones rounding out the top 5.
“This is the Southern 500,” Hamlin said. “It doesn’t get much bigger than this. This is the granddaddy of them all.
“This has so much history. I’m so happy to be in Victory Lane at Darlington. This is where I got my very first start in Joe Gibbs Racing, so this track, these fans, means a lot to me.”
Kyle Larson led 78 of the first 100 laps and looked as though hed gobble up that first stage point,but it ended up being Martin Truex Jr.,that overtook Larson on the final lap of the first stage,snuffing out Larson’s hardwork.Truex Jr won stage 2 aswell,and with those extra 20 points helped to clinch the regular season title and gives Truex an extra 15 playoff points.
Clint Bowyer, who came into Darlington fighting for his playoff life, finished last on Sunday after being forced to take his car to the garage very early on with a blown engine.
“To be out like this, this early?” Bowyer said. “Pretty much sucks.”
Next Sunday we close up the regular season at Richmond,so drivers such as Joey Logano,Eric Jones and Clint Bowyer will be in full desperation mode as each driver needs this victory to get themselves into the Chase,otherwise that will be the end of the line on their seasons.