Hamlin Jumps Start to Win at Richmond Raceway

Denny Hamlin secured a controversial victory at his home track, Richmond Raceway, in the Toyota Owners 400 after a stellar performance by his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team. A crucial pit stop propelled him into the lead for the decisive two-lap overtime shootout, clinching his 53rd career NASCAR Cup Series win and his fifth triumph at the 0.75-mile Richmond oval.

Hamlin’s victory came by a narrow margin of 0.269 seconds over Joey Logano of Team Penske, but it was achieved at the expense of his teammate Martin Truex Jr., who led an impressive 228 laps before being edged out in the final restart of the race. Truex, despite his dominance, ultimately settled for fourth place after being overtaken by Logano and Kyle Larson.

Despite the disappointment for Truex, there was a silver lining as he maintained his championship lead by 14 points over Larson, who had a tumultuous ending to the race. A collision between Larson and Bubba Wallace brought out the final yellow flag, leading to the first overtime period for a NASCAR Cup Series race this season. Despite the setback, Larson managed to secure a fourth-place finish and engage in a fierce battle with Truex during the 2-lap shootout to the checkered flag.

Reflecting on the late-race contact with Truex, Larson attributed it to Truex’s frustration over an earlier incident involving Hamlin. The race also saw strong performances from Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, William Byron, and others, with notable finishes for Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Tyler Reddick in the top 10.

The race began with the field starting on wet-weather tires due to damp conditions from afternoon showers. NASCAR initiated a competition caution at Lap 30, requiring a mandatory change to racing slicks, which allowed the race to start only slightly delayed. This decision was widely praised for its effectiveness in managing the challenging track conditions.