Denny Hamlin Wins Coca-Cola 600

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

Denny Hamlin earned his third victory of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season on Sunday night, holding off his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch by 0.014 seconds.

It is Hamlin’s first Coca-Cola 600 victory in his nearly 20-year Cup career. The 41-year-old now holds victories in all three of NASCAR’s prestigious crown-jewel events: the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, and the Southern 500.

"It’s so special,” Hamlin said. “It’s the last big one that’s not on my résumé. It meant so much."

“Man, we weren’t very good all day. Just got ourselves in the right place at the right time. What a battle there!”

Hamlin played spoiler in an otherwise unlikely win after Ross Chastain and Kyle Larson were taken out in separate late-race multi-car crashes.

Larson battled Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe for the lead on Lap 346 when the No. 99 spun and collected both Briscoe and Chris Buescher. Buescher’s Ford Mustang went rolling over five times before landing on its roof.

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

“I'm going to be a bit sore tomorrow,” Buescher said after an obligatory trip to the infield care center. “I haven't been upside-down in a really long time. The team did a really nice job. We had great speed and had a chance at this thing, it just didn't work out.”

Sunday’s event with 17 cautions marked the longest distance NASCAR race in history, logging 619.5 miles with double overtime.

Austin Dillon’s attempt to secure another victory at the 1.5-mile track went south and set up the perfect scenario for Hamlin’s victory.

A Lap 192 crash was ignited when the No. 12 of Ryan Blaney spun through the middle of the field, effectively collecting 13 cars and ruining good days for William Byron and 23XI Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace.

“I was tucked up tight behind the 8 (Tyler Reddick), and he was kind of lower than I thought on the front stretch and kind of ran through the turf, and then got to (Turn) 1 and jerked right,” Blaney said after the wreck. “I think he was up behind the 99 (Suárez) and thinking he was going hit the apron, and I didn't have time to kind of get right, and I just kind of hit the apron and got me loose. I hate that other cars got tore up.”

Kevin Harvick earned a third-place finish, followed by Briscoe and Christopher Bell. Tyler Reddick finished sixth, while Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Michael McDowell, Larson, and Alex Bowman completed the top 10.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the outskirts of St. Louis for the Enjoy Illinois 300 next Sunday, June 5th at 3:30 p.m. ET. on Fox Sports 1. It will be the series' first Cup event at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Denny Hamlin Wins Coca-Cola 600  Denny Hamlin Wins Coca-Cola 600 Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Monday, May 30, 2022 Rating: 5