Tuesday, Dec 05

NXS: Denny Hamlin takes sixth Xfinity Series win in Sports Clips VFW 200 at Darlington in overtime

NXS: Denny Hamlin takes sixth Xfinity Series win in Sports Clips VFW 200 at Darlington in overtime NK Photography Photo

On a bright and sunny day in Darlington, SC it was an all Joe Gibbs Racing front row with Nemechek taking the pole over Hamlin but on the first lap Hamlin would be passed early for the second spot by Cole Custer who started back in the fourth spot.

With Nemechek out front for the first 10 laps of the day the first caution would come out on lap 11 when Sammy Smith would lose it off turn four spinning the car part the way down the front to the bottom yet able to keep the car off the wall.

When the race would go back green, second and third place would begin to swap from Custer to the duo of Larson then to Hamlin who would take the spot away with 10 to go in stage one.

Stage one would come to an end under caution due to Josh Williams who would get into the wall in turns one and two which would blow the right-side tire on the car.

Williams would try to get out of the racing groove at the urging of NASCAR, but it was too late as the tire would shred, tearing the right side of the car apart two laps to the end of stage one.

Nemechek would go on to win stage one under the caution over Hamlin, Larson, Allgaier, and Custer.

Under pit stops during the caution the lead would turn over to Austin Hill who came in to pit from the sixth spot but would beat Nemechek and Hamlin off pit road to start stage two as only the second leader of the race.

Hill’s lead wouldn’t last long as Nemechek would fire off into the first corner at Darlington taking the lead back just as NASCAR would say the restart was under review. After a few laps the restart would be deemed good for Nemechek as the new leader.

Caution would once again be displayed with an issue for Alfredo after making contact with Mayer and the wall dropping debris.

Stage two would run to completion green with Nemechek leading the way to take home the second stage win of the day over Austin Hill, Larson, Hamlin and Allgaier.

The final stage would get underway with a quick caution that would come out when Kyle Sieg and Moffitt would bounce off one another, collecting Clements off turn four. Sieg and Clements would go for a spin down the front allowing Moffitt to drive away.

On some pit strategy during the caution Retzlaff, Heim and Allgaier would stay out but the three wouldn’t maintain the lead for long as Hill and Hamlin would rocket past the trio on fresh tires.

With the laps winding down the duo of Hill and Hamlin would begin to work on each other as Hamlin would hound the No. 21 machine lap after lap taking the lead just briefly at the line before Hill would motor back.

Hamlin wouldn’t give up the battle, finally making a move on Hill to get past and take control of the race with 23 to go.

Caution would once again be displayed for the sixth caution of the day with Ryan Sieg would loop his car off turn four stopping at the bottom of the track struggling to get it restarted and going forcing NASCAR to throw a caution.

Final stops of the day for the leaders would commence with Austin Hill once again taking the race off pit road sending Hamlin back to the third spot on the restart. Pole sitter Nemechek would come out between the two, setting up a 10-lap battle to the finish.

Hill and Nemechek would commence a battle between the two for the lead with Hamlin closing quickly on the two.

Hamlin would catch Nemechek, passing him three laps later just as Mayer would get into the back of Kligerman, sending him spinning to the bottom of the track to bring out the seventh caution of the day with just five laps to go, setting up a NASCAR overtime situation.

Hamlin would quickly work himself around Hill on the topside clearing away heading toward the white flag. Hill would once again fall back into the clutches of Nemechek for the battle for second as Hamlin would motor away to take home the victory once again for his sixth Darlington victory in the Sports Clips VFW 200.

"I’m just proud to do this for Gordon Logan and everyone at Sports Clips. He’s been such a supporter of my career for such a long time. Thank you to Sport Clips and Help a Hero. Appreciate everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing for the opportunity to come and do one Xfinity race per year and it’s great to have a win.” Said Hamlin

"I really needed some long runs, but I really didn’t want to show everything we had until the very end of the race there. We really did a good job of maintaining what we had and man, it was going to be cool to see that race play out, but still it was a great win.” continued Hamlin

Rounding out the top-five would be Hill, Nemechek, Custer and Berry.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series moves onto Kansas Speedway next Saturday, September 9 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC for the Xfinity regular season cut off race.


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