ThatsRacin

Denny Hamlin wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond

Denny Hamlin celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Va.
Denny Hamlin celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Va. Getty Images

Dominating performances are becoming the norm in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

One week after Joey Logano led all 300 laps to win at Bristol, Tenn., Denny Hamlin led all but two of the 250 laps in winning Friday night’s ToyotaCares 250 at Richmond International Raceway.

The win is Hamlin’s first in the series this season and 11th of his career. It’s also Hamlin’s first win in the series since the 2011 season, although Hamlin has only competed in 18 races during that span.

Joey Logano finished second, Regan Smith was third, Erik Jones was fourth and Chase Elliott was fifth.

Turning point

Brian Scott got an opportunity two-thirds through Friday’s race to take the lead but held it for all of one lap. Hamlin wasted little time in running down and powering around Scott to reclaim the lead, which he never relinquished.

Three who mattered

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin drove like a guy who was never going to let go of his ride and maybe he felt that way after having to get out of his Cup car last weekend at Bristol suffering from neck spasms.

Joey Logano: Logano finished second but it may have been one of the biggest non-competitive second-place performances of his career. He was never a serious threat to Hamlin.

Ty Dillon: Dillon’s ninth-place finish allowed him to move out to an eight-point lead heading into next weekend’s race at Talladega, Ala.

Observations

▪  During a round of pit stops mid-way through the race, a large fire erupted in the pit stall of driver Brendan Gaughan. Three crew members - two from Gaughan’s team (Anthony O’Brien and Josh Wittman) and one from the team of Eric McClure (Clifford Turner), who was pitting nearby - were transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

▪  Hamlin’s victory was the 100th victory for Toyota in the Xfinity Series. Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, owns 59 of the 100 victories.

They said it

“Toyota has been such a big part of Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR and they’ve propelled this team to what it is and I’m proud to get 100 for them.” – winner, Denny Hamlin.

N@SCAR

Three tweets from Friday night’s race:

Next race

Winn-Dixie 300

Where: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

TV: Fox

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

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