Hamlin Holds Off Logano for Darlington Xfinity Win

Brian Lowdermilk/Getty Images

DARLINGTON, SC - RIS - Denny Hamlin won the pole for the Sport Clips 200 Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, but had to make a daring pass on Joey Logano in the fourth turn of the last lap to win.  

Logano led the most laps, 58 of 147, to hold on to second. Kevin Harvick, who won the first two stages, wound up third after leading 54 laps. Erik Jones finished fourth, and William Byron, the first Xfinity regular, rounded out the top five.

It was Hamlin's fifth Xfinity victory at Darlington, all with him starting from the pole position.

Hamlin held off Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick to pick up the victory, making a skilled, last-lap pass of Logano to seal the win.  Hamlin led 33 of the race's 148 laps and scored his second Xfinity Series win of the season in the process. 

Harvick had won the first two stages of the race, and had was the lap leader at

Hamlin was aided by a late caution that interrupted Harvick's lead after Harvick had previously won the first two stages of the race.

While Elliott Sadler's 33rd-place finish shrunk his lead in the point standings, William Byron remains a distant second.

Despite being in 12th place, Dakoda Armstrong is currently outside the playoffs due to Jeremy Clements' one win, meaning Armstrong must either win one of the next two races or ascend to 11th place in order to qualify.

Saturday's race was largely about some of NASCAR's biggest stars taking part in its No. 2 series as a tune-up for Sunday's Cup Series event at Darlington.  Cars were dressed up in paint schemes from the 1980’s, a theme that will be repeated in Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup Series race.

With the exception of three laps, Hamlin, Harvick and Logano combined to lead every lap of the race.  All three are stars in the Cup series and are limited in how many races they can enter.  It has been noted that the Cup drivers dominate races they enter.

“I didn’t anticipate the 22 (Logano) getting back to us,” Hamlin said.  “Hats off to them.  They didn’t have the fastest car all day, but had great pit stops that kept them up front.”

Logano led the way with 58 laps led, but it was Harvick who scored the major blows by winning each of the first two stages.  Both Logano and Harvick were in Fords prepared by Team Penske and Stewart Haas Racing, respectively.

Harvick seemed well on his way to completing the sweep and winning the third by taking the checkered flag, but a caution brought out by Armstrong with 10 laps remaining led to a round of pit stops.

Harvick lost his lead when Logano beat him off pit road.

When the race restated, another yellow flag came out almost immediately on a dustup on track between Sadler and Eric Jones.  In the end, fans saw an exciting finish.

Darlington Raceway - Darlington, SC - 1.366 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 148 Laps - 202.168 Miles
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 1 18 Denny Hamlin(i) Sport Clips Toyota 148 4 2 0 Running 4 33
2 10 22 Joey Logano(i) Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford 148 5 3 0 Running 3 58
3 2 41 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Throwback Ford 148 1 1 0 Running 3 54
4 11 20 Erik Jones(i) Reser's Main Street Bistro Toyota 148 6 5 0 Running
5 6 9 William Byron # Liberty University Chevrolet 148 9 9 36 Running
6 8 48 Brennan Poole DC Solar Chevrolet 148 7 6 40 Running
7 5 3 Ty Dillon(i) Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet 148 3 7 0 Running
8 13 7 Justin Allgaier Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet 148 29 Running
9 4 00 Cole Custer # Haas Automation Ford 148 28 Running
10 9 2 Austin Dillon(i) Rheem Chevrolet 148 8 8 0 Running
11 18 11 Blake Koch LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 148 26 Running
12 15 96 Ben Kennedy # Hurricane Harvey Relief Chevrolet 148 25 Running
13 19 62 Brendan Gaughan NAPA Throwback Chevrolet 148 24 Running
14 16 4 Ross Chastain South Carolina Education Lottery Chevrolet 148 23 Running
15 17 16 Ryan Reed Lilly Diabetes Ford 148 22 Running
16 12 42 Tyler Reddick BBR/ Jason Aldean Chevrolet 148 21 Running
17 21 5 Michael Annett TMC Transportation Chevrolet 148 20 Running
18 3 21 Daniel Hemric # Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet 148 10 10 21 Running
19 22 14 JJ Yeley TriStar Motorsports Toyota 148 18 Running
20 31 90 Brandon Brown Coastal Carolina University Chevrolet 148 17 Running
21 25 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles.com Chevrolet 148 16 Running
22 26 39 Ryan Sieg RSS Racing Chevrolet 148 15 Running
23 27 33 Brandon Jones KCMG Chevrolet 148 14 Running
24 36 01 Harrison Rhodes teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 148 13 Running
25 29 07 Ray Black II Learn Underwater Welding Chevrolet 148 12 Running
26 32 0 Garrett Smithley teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 148 11 Running
27 33 8 BJ McLeod Corvetteparts.net Chevrolet 148 10 Running
28 34 52 Joey Gase Agri Supply/Eternal Fan/Franklin Signs Chevrolet 148 9 Running
29 24 28 Dakoda Armstrong JGL Racing Toyota 147 8 Running
30 23 24 Dylan Lupton Nut Up Toyota 147 7 Running
31 37 78 Tommy Joe Martins Chevrolet 145 6 Running
32 30 40 Timmy Hill O.C.R Gaz Bar Dodge 145 5 Running
33 7 1 Elliott Sadler Armour Vienna Sausage 150th Anniversary Chevrolet 142 2 4 20 Accident 1 1
34 20 23 Spencer Gallagher # Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet 140 3 Accident
35 40 74 Mike Harmon Red Farmer Throwback Dodge 135 2 Running
36 35 99 David Starr Chevrolet 132 1 Running
37 39 89 Morgan Shepherd Visone RV Chevrolet 51 1 Fuel Pump 1 2
38 38 13 Carl Long O.C.R Gaz Bar Dodge 29 1 Handling
39 28 93 Jeff Green RSS Racing Chevrolet 8 1 Rear Gear
40 14 19 Matt Tifft # Ron Jon Surf Shop Toyota 1 1 Accident
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 52 Mins, 03 Secs. Average Speed: 108.256 MPH Margin of Victory:

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2017, Issue 8, Posted 1:16 AM, 09.03.2017