Hamlin Fails Post-Race, Custer Declared Winner

With just 3 races remaining in the regular season, the Xfinity Series headed to Darlington Raceway, fully expecting a late season shake-up to the playoff leaderboard. Instead, fans were treated to an impressive run by Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin, and the return of retired and beloved Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, who ran the race his plane crash just 3 weeks prior.

Naturally, Jr’s one-off race was centerstage and dominated headlines as fans flocked to the stadium for his return as well as the NASCAR celebration known as Throwback Weekend — an annual tradition that pays homage to the legends of NASCAR with brightly coloured paint schemes of days gone by. All of this combined to create an exciting race.

LAP 1: Pole-sitter and Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney led the field to green beside Christopher Bell. The other Cup driver on the grid, Denny Hamlin, started in 37th position after hitting the wall in final practice which created the need for a back-up car.

CAUTION – LAP 11: John Hunter Nemechek in the #23 spun coming out of Turn 4 and brought out the first caution of the day. By this time, Hamlin had already made up 24 spots and was racing in the 13th position… in just 11 laps.

STAGE 1 END – LAP 45: Tyler Reddick won the stage after picking up the lead from Ryan Blaney during the previous caution.

CAUTION – LAP 52: The #86 of Brandon Brown got loose while side-drafting the #08 of Gray Gaulding and spun on the backstretch. Brown’s Chevrolet Camaro hit the inside wall and damaged the rear end, though Brown was able to continue racing.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 90: The stage win went to Ryan Blaney in the #12, who battled with Tyler Reddick for the top spot throughout the entire segment. Since Blaney is a Cup Series regular, he was ineligble to collect the playoff point.

CAUTION – LAP 132: Just 15 laps before the end of the race, the caution came out for the #36 of Josh Williams, who spun in front of the #01 of Landon Cassill and made contact with the #01’s right front. The yellow flag forced a 10-lap shootout to the end. 

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 147: Denny Hamlin held off an aggressive Cole Custer during the shootout to win for the 18th time in his career, his 6th at Darlington Raceway.

POST RACE: During post-race inspection, Denny Hamlin’s #18 Toyota Supra was found to be too low in the left front and too high in the right rear.  This meant the car did not comply with NASCAR’s imposed measurements and was therefore disqualified. The race win was awarded to second-place finisher Cole Custer, marking his 6th victory of the season and tying him with points-leader Christopher Bell.

RESULTS:

  1. Cole Custer
  2. Tyler Reddick
  3. Ryan Blaney
  4. Christopher Bell
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr
  6. Chase Briscoe
  7. Brandon Jones
  8. Noah Gragson
  9. Justin Allgaier
  10. Austin Cindric
  11. Justin Haley
  12. Jeremy Clements
  13. Michael Annett
  14. Ryan Sieg
  15. Gray Gaulding
  16. Ray Black Jr
  17. Alex Labbe
  18. Landon Cassill
  19. BJ McLeod
  20. Camden Murphy
  21. John H Nemechek
  22. Stefan Parsons
  23. Timmy Hill
  24. Josh Williams
  25. Joey Gae
  26. Stephen Leicht
  27. David Starr
  28. Vinnie Miller
  29. Garrett Smithley
  30. Chad Finchum
  31. Matt Mills
  32. Mike Harmon
  33. Brandon Brown
  34. Joe Nemechek
  35. Tommy Joe Martins
  36. JJ Yeley
  37. Denny Hamlin
  38. Morgan Shepard

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