CP MOTORSPORTS - HAMLIN MASTERFUL IN RICHMOND XFINITY WIN
Denny Hamlin rebounded from a tough weekend at Bristol in dominating fashion.
Behind the strength of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Hamlin was able to drive away with a victory in Friday night's Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
Hamlin, who qualified on the pole, led 248 of the race's scheduled 250 laps on his way to his 11th career victory in the Xfinity series and first since 2011. The victory is also his third victory at Richmond in the Xfinity series, he has five combined wins at the track he considers his home track.
"There's not much you could complain about. The car was flawless," Hamlin said. "This reminds me a lot of the night I had in Cup a few years ago where we led every lap but one I think, and we had a flat tire with 15 laps to go. So it reminded me of that and we were just thinking about all the scenarios in your head of how youíre going to lose it, but luckily all the cautions fell the way we needed them to and we were able to get a victory."
The win was also a monumental victory for Hamlin's manufacturer as it became the 100th win in NASCAR for Toyota.
"It's such a big weekend for everyone at Toyota, I didnít know that they had 99 wins," Hamlin admitted. "They told me before the race, 'Hey, if things go well, it's 100."
"I'm like, "Whoa, whoa. Don't, I'm very superstitious when it comes to that kind of stuff."
Hamlin lost the lead on two separate but brief occasions to Brian Scott and Elliott Sadler. Both times, however, Hamlin powered back to the top spot.
Joey Logano, who piloted the #22 Discount Tire Ford for Team Penske, finished 3.719 seconds behind the Virginia native in second place. Logano knew there wasn't much he could have done to slow down the momentum of the hometown hero.
"Start the whole weekend over maybe? He was just so fast. We had nothing for him," Logano said. "We had a second-place Discount Tire Ford Mustang and that is right where we finished. We knew he was fast in practice, and it transferred right over.
I know what it is like to be on the other end of the butt-whipping and it isn't as much fun from this side. Congrats to that team, we just didnít have a shot tonight."
Despite Hamlin's dominance, the race had its action packed moments as three members of Brendan Gaughan's team were rushed to a local hospital after they sustained burns when the pit stall went up in flames. The flames occurred due to a spark and a malfunction, according to Gaughan's crew chief Shane Wilson.
Regan Smith took the checkered flag in third followed by Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and Bristol relief driver Erik Jones and defending Xfinity Champion Chase Elliott rounding out the top five.
Ty Dillon and Chris Buescher entered the race deadlocked atop the points standing, but Buescher finished in 20th place. Dillon crossed the stripe in ninth, giving him sole possession of the points lead.
With the Xfinity series heading to Talladega Superspeedway, Dillon is now eight points ahead of the defending champion Elliott.