Denny Hamlin wins at Richmond in wild finish

By Thomson Reuters Mar 31, 2024 | 10:37 PM

Virginia native Denny Hamlin ran away in a green-white-checker shootout to win the NASCAR Cup Series’ Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway on Sunday night.

After Bubba Wallace brought out a caution by spinning Kyle Larson with two laps to go and Martin Truex Jr. seemingly headed to victory, the 16 lead-lap cars pitted with Hamlin emerging as the leader, followed by Joey Logano and Larson.

The Chesterfield, Va., native managed to pull away from Logano and Larson to win by 0.269 seconds.

It was Hamlin’s 53rd win and fifth at Richmond.

Truex and Chase Elliott completed the top five.

In his 300th career Cup start, Chris Buescher brought his No. 17 Ford home ninth.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers Larson and Elliott occupied the front row, but the 400-lap event was hindered and delayed briefly by rain.

After track-drying efforts made the three-quarter-mile track raceable but still damp, NASCAR threw a curveball at the field and opted to run wet weather tires, which were used last season at the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway.

Larson dominated that race in neighboring North Carolina, and his No. 5 Chevrolet held the point again on a damp short track by leading Wallace as the field came down to a non-competitive pit stop.

After Josh Berry spun Daniel Suarez, the field ran the remaining laps under the third caution to finish Stage 1 at Lap 70. Larson finished first to get the maximum bonus points.

However, the 36-car field’s biggest mover was Berry in the No. 4 Ford formerly driven by Kevin Harvick.

The 33-year-old Berry, a short-track veteran for years driving for JR Motorsports and part-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., started 30th and moved all the way to third by Lap 102.

After short-pitting, Truex’s No. 19 Toyota inherited the point and had it for good as a caution flew on Lap 170 after Kyle Busch banged the wall.

Truex raced on to claim the second segment by 0.723 seconds over Berry and Logano. It was his first stage win this season and sixth career at Richmond.

–Field Level Media