Denny Hamlin had the strongest car all afternoon and won Saturday’s VFW Help A Hero 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.
Hamlin and fellow Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez finished 1-2-3. Kevin Harvick was fourth.
Hamlin led 117 of 147 laps after starting from the pole. That superiority sapped the race of much drama until Hamlin pitted late in the race for gas. But he worked his way back to the lead, passing Suarez with three laps remaining to win.
Chris Buescher maintained his points lead with a fifth-place finish. He’s 29 points up on Ty Dillon, who was 15th.
Hamlin stopped for gas late in the race, allowing him to go all out over the final laps and pass Suarez, who was having to conserve fuel.
Three who mattered
Denny Hamlin: Wins his third Xfinity race of the season, each victory coming from the pole.
Daniel Suarez: Had to conserve fuel toward the end, finishes third but wins Xfinity’s Dash 4 Cash finale and $100,000. Suarez won two of the three Cash 4 Dash bonuses for which he was eligible.
Chase Elliott: Dropped in points from second to third place after engine problems dropped him to 24th in the race.
▪ Coolest throwback car design of the day (and maybe of the weekend): J.J. Yeley’s replica of the late Buddy Baker’s “Gray Ghost.”
▪ Kyle Busch made up more ground than anybody. He started at the rear of the field after being penalilzed during qualifying and finished second.
▪ There were only two cautions – one for competition on Lap 26 and another when Todd Bodine spun on Lap 72.
They said it
“At the pace we were running, I knew it would be close.” – Hamlin.
Virginia529 College Savings 200
Where: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Network.
Radio: Motor Sports Network.