Denny Hamlin wins Southern 500, sweeps at Darlington Raceway

Denny Hamlin winner of Southern 500 at Darlington.

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Denny Hamlin certainly had an extraordinary weekend at Darlington Raceway with two big wins under his belt.  This is his second Bojangles’ Southern 500 win in his career which was originally accomplished triumphantly in 2010.

Hamlin was the winner on Saturday with a victory in the XFINITY Series race by only 0.185 seconds over Joey Logano.  Therefore, sweeping both races over the weekend.

He had to rebound from a costly pit road error with 53 laps remaining in the race and finally passed Martin Truex Jr. with three laps to go when Truex No. 78 Toyota had a flat tire and was forced to make a pit stop costing him any chance at a victory to change the flat and get new tires.

The checkered flag seemed like a long shot for Hamlin when he tried to pit from the lead position on Lap 314 and completely missed the entrance into pit road.  He then had to circle the track all the way around one more time before actually making the necessary pit stop.  Hamlin had to battle back through the pack to get himself in position to pull off the unexpected win based on his mistake.  He absolutely had lady luck on his side, a good racing car and great driving skills to pull off the sweep.

Martin Truex Jr. led 76 laps, due to the flat front tire he brushed the outside wall, hobbled into pit road, changed tires and ended up finishing in eighth place.  However, he did pick up valuable points when he swept both Stage 1 and Stage 2.  He now leads in the standings by 37 points and a NASCAR Monster Energy Series Cup best 17 stage wins for the season.  He also clinched the regular season title with the two stage wins.

Kyle Busch finished in second place in the No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Kurt Busch crossed the finish line in third, Austin Dillon in fourth and Erik Jones in fifth place rounding off the top five drivers.

There were eight yellow caution flags throughout the race, both Kyle Larson and Hamlin led 124 laps as a total of eight different drivers captured the lead during the night in the 367 lap 501.3 mile racing event.

Meanwhile, the NASCAR Monster Energy Series will move on to Richmond Raceway next Saturday September 9th for the Federated Auto Parts 400 starting at 7:30 PM eastern time.  All racing fans can follow the action on NBCSN, MRN radio and Streaming on NBC Sports.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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