Hamlin holds on for fourth Xfinity win at Darlington
Denny Hamlin won the race from pole position for the fourth time in his career, passing JGR teammate Daniel Suarez with three laps to go.
Denny Hamlin had to make his final pit stop early because he didn’t get enough fuel in his car.
His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez, tried to stretch his fuel into his first NASCAR victory.
With three of 147 laps remaining, the two drivers on divergent strategies converged with Hamlin passing Suarez to take the lead.
Hamlin then spent the final laps holding off another teammate, Kyle Busch, to win Saturday’s VFW 200 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, his third Xfinity Series victory of the season – all from the pole.
“It was amazing. We’ve had a great run. You can’t a performance like that without a dominant race car,” Hamlin said in Victory Lane.
“I almost glad we didn’t (get the fuel full). We didn’t want a caution to fall and trap us there but I scraped the wall and kind of misjudged my line one time and got a little right-side damage and the car just stopped turning.
“I’m not sure if my right-front would have made the distance or not.”
JGR drivers swept the top three positions in the race and the organization has now won six of the series’ last 12 races.
“I’m awful proud of this team,” he said. “It’s fun to run in the Xfinity Series and I’m going to enjoy this one.”
Suarez wins Dash 4 Cash, Buescher extends points lead
Suarez won the final $100,000 “Dash 4 Cash” bonus of the season as the highest finisher of the four eligible drivers this weekend. He won the bonus two of the three times he was eligible in the four-race bonus program funded by the series sponsor.
Kevin Harvick finished fourth and series points leader Chris Buescher ended up fifth. Buescher holds a 29-point lead over Ty Dillon in the series standings.
“Nice job guys,” Buescher said over his team radio as the race ended. “Good job on pit road. I appreciate it. That’s all we needed right there. Always want a little bit more, but thank you guys.”
Harvick thought his only chance to earn the win would come with a late caution. When Chase Elliott developed engine problems, he thought one might be on the horizon.
“The 9 (Elliott) hit the wall and was blowing up or something, and we stayed out a few extra laps thinking that the caution might come out,” Harvick said. “Denny had the best car.”
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