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NASCAR Xfinity: Denny Hamlin wins from pole at Darlington

Denny Hamlin celebrates in victory lane at Darlington Raceway after winning the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 on Sept. 2, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Denny Hamlin celebrates in victory lane at Darlington Raceway after winning the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 on Sept. 2, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Denny Hamlin won the pole in the Great Clips Haircuts VFW 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Saturday after leading 33 laps of the 148 that made up the race. The event was scheduled for a 147-lap distance but was extended a lap by an overtime restart after series points leader Elliott Sadler hit the wall on lap 143.

It was Hamlin’s fifth series win at Darlington.

Joey Logano was the race leader for the final restart, but Hamlin took the lead on that restart. Hamlin and Logano battled side-by-side on the final lap as Logano made a futile attempt to retake the lead. Logano wound up second after leading a race-high 58 laps.

“I didn’t anticipate the 22 (Logano) getting back to us like that, but he did and hats off to them and they didn’t have probably the fastest car, but they had great pit stops all day and put themselves in position, and then, I knew going down the backstretch that he was going to have inside position,” Hamlin said. “It was up to me then to back up the corner, let him slide up the race track and slide back around him on the exit, so it takes a lot of patience, but glad it all worked out for us and this whole Sport Clips team.”

Kevin Harvick finished third after starting the race alongside Hamlin on the front row and leading 54 laps. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trio of Hamlin, Logano and Harvick combined to lead the entire race.

“We had a great Hunt Brothers Ford,” Harvick said. ”I want to thank Hunt Brothers and Fields and Bad Boy Off Road, Ford, Morton Buildings, everybody from Stewart-Haas Racing and Haas Automation for just letting us run this thing. It just didn’t wind up working out there at the end. I wound up on the bottom and I kept my foot in it over there, got loose underneath the No. 20 (Erik Jones). We weren’t the strongest for five or 10 laps, and that didn’t really work out with that short run there at the end, and we got stuck on the bottom. We got loose, and then, we got freight-trained, but just a great car.  It wound up being a great race, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Logano took multiple leads throughout the race, primarily by beating everyone else off pit road. Meanwhile, the inside line looked to be at a disadvantage as the leader would, time and time again, restart on the outside and the second-place car on the restart would lose multiple positions when the race would return to green.

Harvick was the first to buck that trend, taking the lead from Logano on the restart that followed a lap-71 caution, despite restarting next to him in the inside line. Harvick was able to maintain second on a later restart, and Hamlin proved that he, too, could take the lead from the inside on the ninth and final restart of the race.

Erik Jones finished fourth, and William Byron was the highest-finishing Xfinity Series regular in fifth. Other top-10 finishers included Brennan Poole in sixth, Ty Dillon in seventh, Justin Allgaier in eighth, Cole Custer ninth and Austin Dillon in 10th.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on September 3, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,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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