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Denny Hamlin Steals One In Richmond, Larson and Truex Tangle

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North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

What’s Happening?

The checkered flag has officially flown in Richmond.

As the final stage started, second stage winner Martin Truex Jr. appeared to be in a league of his own. A difficult pit stop during the stage break mired Josh Berry back in traffic in the 7th position with Kyle Larson emerging as Truex’s chief rival. For this stage, as opposed to the second, all teams seemed to be on the same strategy by splitting the final 170 laps evenly into thirds. Just shy of lap 300, the first cycle of green flag pit stops began.

After cycling through, the first set of green flag pit stops had Martin Truex Jr. again as the race leader followed by Larson. Benefitting the most from a lightning-fast pit stop was Denny Hamlin who found himself in 3rd. Suffering again was Josh Berry who, with a 15-second pit stop found himself even further back in 13th when things cycled through.

From there, the race ran pretty cleanly. During the second and final cycle of green flag pit stops of the final stage, Kyle Larson was able to beat Truex Jr. off pit road, putting him in position to lead. However, Larson was not able to hold off the dominant Martin Truex Jr. as the 19 rocketed by, retaking the lead.

With 2-laps to go, the caution flag flew for a spinning Kyle Larson. Larson, who was running 4th at the time, got loose and tagged from behind by Bubba Wallace. Denny Hamlin would win the race off pit road. Once the race restarted, Hamlin would hold off his teammate Martin Truex Jr. to score his 5th career win at Richmond Raceway.

Joey Logano was through to second and Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson were beatin’ and bangin’ down the back stretch. Coming to the line, Larson would crowd Truex into the fence, scoring third. Truex then dumped Larson in turn 1 after the flag and then proceeded to beat the rear bumper of his teammate and race winner, Denny Hamlin.

The Main Characters

Denny Hamlin was not, by any means, the dominant car here tonight. However, he was able to use pit strategy and win the race off pit road which eventually won him the race. This is Hamlin’s 5th career victory at his home track.

A key storyline for the end of this race was the incident between Larson and Truex on the last lap and after the race. What started it all was his teammate Denny Hamlin using him up on the restart. Truex claimed that Hamlin jumped the start, though NASCAR deemed it clean. After contact with Hamlin, Truex was passed by Logano and then Larson got to his inside. Upset, Truex doored Larson, and, coming to the checkered, Larson ran him up into the wall to end the race.

You can watch a replay of the post-race incident here:

Jamie Little caught up with a very frustrated Martin Truex Jr. in the clip below.

Around The Garage

During the first round of green flag pit stops in the final stage, Christopher Bell, who stayed out to lead a few laps, was found speeding on pit exit. He was forced to do a pass-through penalty, relegating him to the first car 1-lap down.

The No. 5 pit crew was lightening fast all night! Their speed along with the advantage of having the first pit stall was able to get Larson out front ahead of Truex. Unfortunately, the lead change didn’t last.

As the laps were winding down and it appeared that Martin Truex Jr. was in the catbird seat, a caution flew as Kyle Larson went around. What caused the incident was that Larson got loose and checked up. He was then tagged from behind by Bubba Wallace in the 23. This incident sent us into overtime.

Fortunately for Larson, he still managed to come off pit road 4th.

In The Stands

@MrPissant urges NASCAR to review the restart. He claims that Hamlin jumped the start.

Peggy Long has a short and simple explanation for what happened: Denny Hamlin won this race on pit road. Point taken.

Perry is sympathetic to Truex. They, too, question if Hamlin jumped the start.

Yes, @Daverlix, I know…it’s just short track racin’.

Conclusion

Thus ends round 7 of 36 for the NASCAR Cup Series! What did you think of this race, Daily Downforce readers? Did you find it exciting, frustrating, or boring? What did you think of Denny Hamlin sneaking in to win this one? What do you make of the last lap and post-race contact between Larson and Truex? Let us know on all of our social media accounts. Also, be sure to keep it right here at DailyDownforce.com for all the latest news and discussions in the world of NASCAR! We’re not done short trackin’ yet. Martinsville, here we come!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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