DARLINGTON, SC – Denny Hamlin picked up his second win of the season Wednesday night at Darlington Raceway.
After a delayed start the drivers took the green flag with a sense of urgency, due to the continued threat of rain. There were 17 lead changes among 13 drivers, with door-to-door battles all race long.
Hamlin and his crew chief gambled a bit on pit strategy after a caution with only 34 laps remaining. Clint Bowyer, who was an early leader, spun out and hit the wall, relegating the No. 14 Ford to a 22nd place finish.
Most drivers pitted on that caution for new tires, but Hamlin stayed out and took the lead and was able to hold off the other drivers with fresh tires. The last caution came with 20 laps remaining when Kyle Busch spun out Chase Elliott in a battle for position. The yellow flag was quickly followed by a red flag which stopped the race due to a rain shower. NASCAR called the race after about 20 minutes due the intensifying rain.
Hamlin met with a socially distant media and reacted to his second win of the season.
“I’ve got my happy face on, made sure I brought it with me today,” Hamlin said, referring to a face mask with a huge smile on it. “The pit crew did a great job today, everybody really. I was pretty happy with how it all turned out.”
Kyle Busch finished second, Denny Hamlin third, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Erik Jones finished fifth. As the driver’s head to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 Harvick is the points leader followed by Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Hamlin and Chase Elliott.