Hamlin fought off a wild cost from Kyle Larson in Turns three and four and held on to win Sunday night time’s Southern 500 at Darlington – his first win of the 12 months, which routinely advances him into the Spherical of 12 within the NASCAR playoff no matter the place he finishes within the subsequent two races at Richmond and Bristol.
Hamlin led the ultimate 69 laps, but it surely was the final one the place he got here closest to shedding out on the win. As the 2 entered Flip three on the final of 367 laps, Larson despatched his #5 Chevrolet deep into the nook and into the wall.
Larson nonetheless managed to get to Hamlin’s rear bumper exiting Flip four however misplaced momentum as the 2 raced to the chequered flag, the place Hamlin gained by zero.212 seconds.
“Southern 500, it’s a giant win. Yeah, I like this race observe. It’s by far my favourite race observe,” mentioned Hamlin, who now has 4 Cup wins on the observe, together with three Southern 500 victories. “It’s simply nice.
“He [Larson] drove it in previous the restrict of the vehicles and the tyres. I knew he was coming. I used to be a little bit bit conservative on that final lap as a result of I had that four-car-length lead. Yeah, I didn’t assume he was going go that deep, however yeah, nonetheless a terrific race.
“It’s been backwards and forwards with me and him a lot of the 12 months. He’s simply been a little bit bit sooner on these kinds of race tracks, and by chance the warning got here when it did and the technique labored out nice for the staff, however man, I’m actually completely happy.”
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com
Picture by: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Pictures
Requested in regards to the significance of the win, Hamlin mentioned, “It was a matter of time. We are able to’t simply hold main inside 10 laps to go each week and never get a win.
“Yesterday was some distinctive circumstances however, man, I let you know what, I couldn’t be happier for this win and now to maneuver to the Spherical of 12.”
Ross Chastain completed third for Chip Ganassi Racing as Martin Truex Jr rebounded from a late-race rushing penalty to finish up fourth for Joe Hibbs Racing and Kevin Harvick rounded out the highest 5 in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Kurt Busch took sixth forward of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, as Chris Buescher and Austin Dillon accomplished the highest 10.
However it was a race to neglect for Chase Elliott as he slammed the Flip 1 wall on Lap 327, doing appreciable injury to his #9 Chevrolet which pressured his race to an early finish.
Race outcomes – 367 laps