Denny Hamlin gambled and won Sunday night. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver staged an epic drive in the course of the final laps catching and passing Martin Truex Jr, with two laps to go to win the NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Hamlin had stayed out late in the going, along with Kyle Busch. They were the only cars on the lead lap during a round of green flag stops, the final of the race. When he did pit, Hamlin missed the entrance to pit road and was forced to go around again. It appeared at that point that after being in contention the entire race his hopes for victory were over.
He would not be denied though and with fresher tires reeled in leader Truex. With 10 laps to go, Hamlin had cut a 10 second gap to 2.5 seconds. With five laps to go the lead was just a half a second. With two laps to go, Truex slid into the wall in turn 3, and Hamlin shot by and onto victory. The win came a day after Hamlin won the Xfinity race for a weekend sweep, a feat he also accomplished in 2010.
Kyle Busch was second followed by Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones in the top five.Matt Kenseth was sixth, Ryan Newman seventh, Truex held on for eighth Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 10.
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