Brandon Jones took the lead as Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin battled for the lead on the final lap to take the Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway on Saturday.
Chastain and Hamlin were dueling for the front for most of the final 20 laps, Chastain bumping Hamlin from behind late. Jones was able to go low past the two and hold on for his third win this season and fourth of his career.
Chastain wound up second with Ryan Sieg third, Riley Herbst fourth and Hamlin.
Just before that, race leader at the time Chase Briscoe spun out in turn one, just about ending his chances to sweep both the Xfinity Series events at Darlington Raceway.
Briscoe took an emotional victory there last May after wife Marissa had a miscarriage and Briscoe openly discussed the couples’ feelings of pain and disappointment.
Ryan Sieg assumed the lead with Harrison Burton second, Chastain third and five-time Darlington Xfinity winner Hamlin fourth.
Briscoe came back on the track after stopping in the pits. He was shown in 19th place, the final car on the lead lap.
Officials paused the event with 28 laps to go to clean up the track.
Hamlin swept both stages on the day. He moved from the final starting spot to the lead on the 34th lap. But a slower than expected pit stop dropped him back to 11th. Apparently, that was no problem for the five-time Xfinity winner at Darlington, who moved past Briscoe on lap 83 to regain the lead.
The second stage ended under caution when Noah Gragson and Dexter Bean spun out in turn four as they raced to the start-finish line to end the stage.
There’s three races left in the NXS regular season both on short tracks at Richmond (Sept. 11 & Sept. 12) and Bristol (Sept. 18).
Hamlin the most dominant
Brandon Jones may have be won but Denny Hamlin was the most dominant of the day. He led the most laps to earn his 11th top five in his last 12 Darlington starts in the series. Nine of those 11 were in the top two.
Sieg makes a nice comeback
Ryan Sieg was collected in the early race crash. He rebounded for a much needed top five finish in his No. 39 Chevrolet. That’s his best career Darlington result which comes after a previous best of seventh back in May. It was also his first top 10 since Road America (6 races) and first top five since Kansas (7 races).
Hemrics bad luck continues
Daniel Hemrics 2020 season has gone like this year for most has gone – bad luck. The Cup Series Rookie of the Year last year lost his ride despite earning those honors. He went back to the Xfinity Series on a part time basis with JR Motorsports. It was supposed to be a step back but do so with the top team in the sport and allow him to show what he’s got again.
Instead, bad luck ensued.
Hemric, was collected in an early race crash and finished last. It’s his third finish outside of the top 30 in his last five starts. He has had eight starts see him finish 24th or worse, most being incidents beyond his control.
I feel bad for him. He has the talent but lacks luck.
NXS Package The Best
Just like the race we saw back in May, the Xfinity Series at Darlington is the best one. The lower downforce and higher horsepower allows for much more passing with slipping and sliding around. The Cup package is the opposite which leads to worse racing.
Annett +251, Herbst +169, Sieg +120, Brown +45, Clements -45, Snider -51.