(photo courtesy Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin pulled off the Darlington double, winning both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this weekend! That feat has only been accomplished 3 times in Darlington’s illustrious 61 year history!
Denny Hamlin restarted the Showtime Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway Saturday night in the lead driving his JGR #11 Fed Ex Toyota with 20 laps to go, and had no problem holding off the field to get the victory.
However, the two drivers who appeared to have the best shots at beating Hamlin in the Cup race – Jeff Gordon in the HMS #24 DuPont Chevy and Jeff Burton in the RCR #31 CAT Chevy – blew their chances at victory by making mistakes on the final pit stop of the evening. Gordon missed the commitment cone while trying to pit and Burton was penalized for running over a hose in the pits.
Jamie McMurray, driving the EGR #1 Bass Pro Sports Chevy, who started from the pole, finished second. On Friday, McMurray finished third in the Nationwide race. So, big weekend for McMurray – though not a surprising one to him and his teams.
Kurt Busch, driving the Penske Racing #2 Miller Lite Dodge, finished third. A very welcome third. “I haven’t had a solid run like tonight since Ricky Craven and I battled it out for that win,” Busch, whose brother Kyle finished second to Hamlin on Friday, said. “It feels good to get our Miller Lite Dodge back up front. It came down to a strategy where I though two tires would be the way to go at the end. We had the right strategy, we just didn’t have enough speed.
Gordon came back to finish fourth, after missing the pit entrance. Then as he re-entered the pits on the second attempt, a yellow flag cam out. With that yellow flag being waved, Gordon drove right through the pits again to rejoin the pack, then next time by Gordon took the wave around.
“That is what happens when you make a make a mistake,” Gordon said of missing pit road. “You have to make it up to your guys who worked so hard all weekend long to give you a race car like that.
Rounding out the top five was JPM, better know as Juan Pabl0 Montoya, driving the EGR #42 Target Chevy.
So the “track too tough to tame” has again given the race fans a great weekend of racing. The Southern 500 has put another exclamation point on a NASCAR season already full of exciting finishes. Even more interesting is that Deny Hamlin has shown that no “stinkin’ ACL surgery” will put a hamper on his competitiveness, durability, focus, and drive!
What is your take on Hamlin’s toughness?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!