NASCAR: Toyota 500

NASCAR: Toyota 500

Crew members for NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin celebrate after winning the Toyota 500 on Wednesday night.

Denny Hamlin became the season’s second multi-time winner, the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota earning the rain-abbreviated Toyota 500 NASCAR Cup Series victory Wednesday night at Darlington Raceway.

Hamlin, this year’s Daytona 500 winner, took the lead during a late race caution, opting to stay on track while most of the other front-runners pitted for fresh tires. Hamlin held off the field on the ensuing restart with 29 laps remaining and was out front when the final yellow flag came out for an incident directly behind him involving reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.

A steady rain began to fall before the race could resume and NASCAR parked the cars on pit road with 20 laps remaining before calling the race minutes later as the rain intensified.

Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Sunday’s Darlington winner and current NASCAR Cup Series driver standings leader Kevin Harvick. Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones rounded out the top five, followed by Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson, Matt DiBenedetto and Martin Truex Jr.

“I’ve got my happy face on, made sure I brought it with me today,” Hamlin said from inside his car on pit road, referring to a face mask depicting a huge smile. “The pit crew did a great job today, everybody really. I was pretty happy with how it all turned out.

As a precaution to the global COVID-19 pandemic, no fans were in the grandstands.

As Hamlin took the victory questions on live television, Busch was approached by Elliott’s crew chief Alan Gustafson to further discuss the incident with Elliott. Gustafson was Busch’s former crew chief when the two-time Cup champion drove for Hendrick Motorsports from 2005-07.

Cup Series — Toyota 500 Wednesday, at Darlington

1. (16) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 208.

2. (26) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 208.

3. (20) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 208.

4. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 208.

5. (13) Erik Jones, Toyota, 208.

6. (3) Joey Logano, Ford, 208.

7. (9) Aric Almirola, Ford, 208.

8. (37) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 208.

9. (7) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 208.

10. (15) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 208.

11. (24) Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 208.

12. (34) William Byron, Chevrolet, 208.

13. (14) Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 208.

14. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 208.

15. (18) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 208.

16. (21) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 208.

17. (23) Michael McDowell, Ford, 208.

18. (19) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 208.

19. (2) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 208.

20. (10) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 208.

21. (5) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 208.

22. (4) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 208.

23. (32) Chris Buescher, Ford, 208.

24. (31) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 207.

25. (39) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 207.

26. (35) Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 207.

27. (25) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 207.

28. (29) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, 207.

29. (30) Joey Gase(i), Ford, 207.

30. (11) Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 206.

31. (22) Cole Custer #, Ford, 206.

32. (28) Gray Gaulding, Ford, 206.

33. (33) Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 204.

34. (36) Garrett Smithley #, Chevrolet, 204.

35. (12) John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 202.

36. (38) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 202.

37. (27) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, Transmission, 201.

38. (17) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Accident, 200.

39. (1) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, Engine, 69.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 104.984 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 42 Mins, 23 Secs. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags: 11 for 54 laps.

Lead Changes: 17 among 13 drivers