NASCAR Crash Course: How Denny Hamlin survived old school Southern 500 – CBS Sports

The 2021 Southern 500? Extra Simply like the Survivor 500. Championship contfinishers have been torn to gadgets in seconds. Blown tires led to missed alternatives, pit method altering up entrance with every sprime. The finish was like a Onl…….

The 2021 Southern 500? Extra Simply like the Survivor 500. Championship contfinishers have been torn to gadgets in seconds. Blown tires led to missed alternatives, pit method altering up entrance with every sprime. The finish was like a Online recreation That would have been confused for iRacing on Twitch.  

Clearly, the Monitor Too Strong To Tame was every Little bit of that Inside the 72nd version of Darlington Raceway’s crown jewel NASCAR Cup Collection event. 

Denny Hamlin emerged from the fray Collectively with his first win of 2021, fending off a wild transfer by Kyle Larson By which he tried to rim-journey previous Hamlin by sliding Throughout The floor wall. 

“Acquired to his bumper too quick,” Larson said. “I Hoped he was going to run that diamond to Sort of be protected And that i might skirt to his outdoors… gave every thing I had. He did An excellent job Unlikely making any errors Over the previous run.” 

Hamlin was The one playoff driver, actually who might say that.

The woman In Black chewed up title contfinishers and spit them out all Evening time, from Michael McDoproperly’s wreck on lap 31 to Chase Elliott on lap 328.  

In The Prolonged time period, a whopping 9 playoff drivers accomplished outdoors The very biggest 15, the highest quantity for any Spherical of 16 race As a Outcome of The current format started in 2014 (Maintain in thoughts every playoff driver started Contained in the very biggest 16 On this one As a Outcome of of NASCAR COVID-19 protocols on setting The sector). 

“It is the Southern 500 at Darlington,” said Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart on the automotivenage. “There’s not A lot of 500-mile races That are a thriller anymore. However Darlington is the true quintesdespatchedial NASCAR race in that, You understand, The primeurance actually is the look at. There have been Simply a few guys left standing On The prime with a shot to win, And that is Solely a tribute to this racetrack and this race.” 

It left many NASCAR heavyweights licking their wounds, far too Lots of them self-inflicted. Truex, the 2017 champion, had a unfastened wheel put him behind, then pit method and setups againhearthd only to wrestle again to the entrance on lap 322. What occurred subsequent? Dashing, A go to to the again of The road and one punch too many from this tough egg-shaped oval. 

“A sort of days,” he said. “Typically, You will Have The power to’t do the little issues proper.” 

“On my finish, just made too many errors,” Elliott said after his race included hitting a tire on pit road earlier than wrecking. “That is what you deserve Everytime you make that many errors.” 

The sudden benefactor was Hamlin, a driver who entered the playoffs And by no means using a prime-3 finish since mid-April at Richmond Raceway. He watched his level lead get devoured by Larson, then finishured a bizarre week when longtime girlfrifinish Jordan Fish posted cryptic messages on Twitter displaying to, at minimal, publicly finish their relationship.  

“I am Educated and do my job Definitely one of the biggest I can,” Hamlin said. “Right now, I assumed we did Shut toly as good as we might. We executed… my group is On A daily basis giving Definitely one of the biggest effort, And that i do know my job every Sunday.” 

Now, the job turns into strain free The subsequent two weeks as Hamlin is assured a spot Inside The subsequent round. He and Larson (+80) are The one two Which will really feel protected after a Darlington race wreaked havoc on the postseason lineup. 

“There was no room for error,” Hamlin said about his 2021 playoff bid. “Now, we get to go On the market and Think about getting by way of that second round, which I really feel Might be In all probability the most dangerous.” 

Visitors Report

Inexperienced: Ross Chastain — A primary Cup win in a crown jewel event? Chastain was oh-so-Shut to turning into The primary non-playoff driver to win Inside the Spherical of 16 beneath The current format. The No. 42 was in place to do it, outrunning Larson till a late warning In the midst of pit sprimes value him administration of the race. He might by no means regain it. 

What was needed to squeeze out Barely further velocity? “A greater driver,” Chastain said. “I can go quick, I merely can’t pretty race with them, and it starts with my restarts.” 

Yellow: Team Penske — It was mixed critiques for A 3-automotive operation that principally prevented Darlington’s wrath. Brad Keselowski ran seventh with a automotive dealing with so dangerous that at one level, he merely exclaimed, “So tight!” Joey Logano snagged eighth for his first prime-10 finish in over a month? Even a late spin by Ryan Blaney, ending his two-race win streak, was Okay for the No. 12 group banking 9 stage factors earlier Inside the race. 

All of that retains them above the cutline. However they by no means showcased velocity Inside the playoff opener that has anyone considering Championship 4. A minimal of, not but. 

Purple: Hfinishrick Motorsports — It is exhausting to think about a more Evening timemarish state of affairs To start out the playoffs. Alex Bowman had electrical gremlins, then was The primary wreck of the Evening time when a blown tire despatched him crusing into The floor wall. William Byron caught A bit of that one, fought again, then wrecked worse when the group Did not get the left entrance wheel tight on a midrace pit sprime.  

Elliott accomplished off the trifecta, wrecking his automotive after a left entrance went down on the No. 9. He is The one one of this trio above the cutline, becoming a member of Larson, as a group In a place to sweeping all Championship 4 places might now be confronted with a quantity of first round TKOs. 

“It is just horrible,” Byron said. “I do not know man. That sucks.” 

Dashing Ticket — Kyle Busch. Nobody appeared more irritated at Darlington than Busch, pressured low by Aric Almirola earlier than contact with Austin Dillon wrecked his automotive coming off flip 2. Busch then made a mockery of the orange cones on pit road, forcing innocent bystanders to flee as he drove proper As a lot As a Outcome of the hauler, accomplished his Evening time and spent A pair of minutes Figuring out how and when he’d hearth off expletives. 

“We’ll take our lumps,” Busch said. “Working like s—, we got wrecked, That is what you get Everytime you run like s—.” 

A two-time winner this season now finds himself two factors under the cutline and confronted with A potential nice by NASCAR. Will he refocus with Richmond, one of his biggest tracks, subsequent up? 


Carnage wasn’t restricted to the Cup race at Darlington. Derek Kraus made driver Lawless Alan indignant when the duo made contact, spinning out the No. 45 and amassing properly-appreciated Hailie Deegan Inside the wreck. 

Alan, aside from having one of NASCAR’s biggest names, let unfastened on Kraus alongside with the Niece Racing Twitter account.  

They went So far as to level the finger at primary sponsor NAPA Auto Parts for sponsoring Kraus. However Take A look at their superb Twitter response. 


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