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NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin notches another Southern 500 win

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 05: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Offerpad Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 05, 2021 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared East/Getty Images)

FULL COOK OUT SOUTHERN 500 RESULTS

By AMANDA VINCENT


Denny Hamlin may have only been bettered by Kevin Harvick in the wins column in 2020, but after going winless in the 26-race regular season in 2021, Hamlin finally claimed his first NASCAR Cup Series win of the year Sunday night at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in the Cook Out Southern 500, the first race of the playoffs.


“Southern 500, it’s a big win. I love this race track. It’s by far my favorite race track,” Hamlin said. “It’s just great; can’t thank the Offerpad guys enough for everything they do and FedEx and Shady Ray’s, the Jordan Brand, just everyone — Coca-Cola, Toyota, everyone at JGR that builds these fast cars.” 

Sunday night’s win was Hamlin’s third Southern 500 victory and his fourth win, overall, at Darlington.


This year’s installment of the crown-jewel race took over four hours to complete, making it the longest race of the season, time wise, surpassing even the Coca-Cola 600.


Kyle Larson dominated the race, including a stage-two win on lap 230,  after taking the lead from Hamlin on a lap-123 restart. Larson challenged Hamlin in the closing laps, including a physical battle on the final lap of the 367-lap race, but had to settle for second.


“It’s good to get a good start. I think everybody’s, you know, nervous getting ready for the final 10 and just the anticipation of how it’s going to go,” Larson said. “So good to get a good first week in and build some momentum and some confidence within the team, so hopefully, go to Richmond, be a little bit better than we were earlier in the year.”

Ross Chastain finished third, and Martin Truex Jr. was fourth. Truex was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty during a lap-318 caution for Ryan Blaney. Truex, though, pitted during the 11th and final caution for Chase Elliott on lap 329 and, on newer tires, drove back into the top-five in the remaining laps.
Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.


Hamlin won the first 115-lap stage. After pole sitter Blaney, Kurt Busch and Harvick led early, Hamlin took the lead by being first off pit road during a lap-47 caution and led most of the remainder of the opening stage.


After Larson took the lead early in stage two, his dominance prompted a few drivers, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Truex included, to extend a couple of late-race, green-flag runs between stops to eliminate one late-race trip down pit road.


That strategy was ended by the Blaney caution, but by that point, Hamlin was already ahead of Larson.


Blaney and Elliott weren’t the only playoff drivers whose race ended early with crumpled sheet metal. Michael McDowell, Kyle Busch and William Byron also exited the race after wrecks.


Finishing sixth through 10th were Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Chris Buescher and Austin Dillon.

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Posted by on September 6, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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