Denny Hamlin wins home race in Richmond
Denny HamlinThe hometown of Chesterfield, Va., is about twenty miles from Richmond Circuitmaking his NASCAR Cup Series home circuit. A little pit strategy earned him his fifth career victory on the track as his cooler tires allowed him to pass William Byron with five laps to go and pull away for his first win of 2022.
Hamlin started thirteenth while ryan blaney was on the pole. That of the old 23XI Race ally Kurt Busch was responsible for the first warning when his fuel pressure dropped to ten laps. Blaney led every lap of the opening stage to win ahead of Byron, Ross Chestnut, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Chase Elliot, Christopher Bell, Joey Logan, Brad Keselowskiand Kevin Harvick.
While Stage #2 was uneventful, pit stops dominated the segment as each team tested various methods to maximize their track time on each configuration. The alternative strategy of Hamlin and Toyota allowed Joe Gibbs Race Bell and Truex teammates to lead the rounds, as does Blaney’s Team Penske compatriot Logano. Bell led for much of the stage before being passed by Truex for the eventual stage win. Chastain, Logano, Blaney, Elliott, Harvick, Busch, Kyle Larsonand Keselowski followed.
Six laps in the third stage, Cody Ware to hit Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after being transformed by Erik Jonesinciting Ware to tweet on “[n]o the respect (to be) returned when I try to give it to everyone. Another wreck came five laps into the ensuing restart when Ty Dillon and Cole Custer made contact and Austin Cindric was caught in the crossfire.
The race resumed on lap 264 with Byron in the lead. As in the previous segment, pit stops were a critical factor as Hamlin opted to pit two in Stage #3, while others like Byron opted to pit one. Although Byron led much of the final stage, it slowly became clear that Hamlin and his new tires had the advantage as he chased him. Hamlin caught the leader and passed him with five laps to go.
Although Harvick – who also made two saves – tried to follow, he was unable to close the gap enough as Hamlin took his fifth win at Richmond and his first since 2016. He is also the first Toyota driver to win a 2022 Cup race, while Ty Gibbs‘veil victory Xfinity Series The event gave JGR a weekend sweep.
“You just have a tough season and things aren’t going well,” said Hamlin. “It looks like everything is not going your way and the law of averages says things will work out and we will improve our performance, and today was the day that all went well.
“I just rely on the team leader (Chris Gabehart) and his information tells me that we are going to race this guy and this guy. As long as you keep up with that pace and do everything you can in traffic, you have a good chance of winning. I don’t care where we were or anything. He told me where the chiefs were. I just drove the car as smoothly as possible.
“I love this track and the techniques it takes to get around here. I’ve seen some of the greatest short track racers in the world at Southside Speedway and Langley. I’ve learned so much from these guys who have been watching for the stands. When I finally had the opportunity to apply it to myself, I did.
|To finish||To start up||Number||Driver||Team||Maker||Towers||Status|
|1||13||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Race||Toyota||400||Functioning|
|2||7||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford||400||Functioning|
|3||2||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevy||400||Functioning|
|4||6||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Race||Toyota||400||Functioning|
|5||21||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevy||400||Functioning|
|6||9||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Race||Toyota||400||Functioning|
|7||1||12||ryan blaney||Team Penske||Ford||400||Functioning|
|8||28||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevy||400||Functioning|
|9||3||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Race||Toyota||400||Functioning|
|ten||25||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevy||400||Functioning|
|11||4||14||Chasing Briscoe||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford||400||Functioning|
|12||16||8||Tyler Red Dick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevy||400||Functioning|
|13||19||6||Brad Keselowski||RFK race||Ford||400||Functioning|
|14||15||9||Chase Elliot||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevy||400||Functioning|
|15||18||17||Chris Buescher||RFK race||Ford||400||Functioning|
|16||14||99||Daniel Suarez||Trackhouse Race Team||Chevy||400||Functioning|
|17||11||22||Joey Logan||Team Penske||Ford||399||Functioning|
|18||17||21||Harrison Burton||Race of the Wood Brothers||Ford||399||Functioning|
|19||8||1||Ross Chestnut||Trackhouse Race Team||Chevy||399||Functioning|
|20||20||2||Austin Cindric||Team Penske||Ford||399||Functioning|
|21||ten||ten||Aric Almirola||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford||398||Functioning|
|22||12||41||Cole Custer||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford||398||Functioning|
|23||5||43||Erik Jones||Small GMS Motorsports||Chevy||398||Functioning|
|24||30||42||Ty Dillon||Small GMS Motorsports||Chevy||398||Functioning|
|25||22||38||Todd Gilliland||Motorsports in the front row||Ford||397||Functioning|
|26||29||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Race||Toyota||397||Functioning|
|27||26||16||AJ Allmendinger*||Kaulig race||Chevy||396||Functioning|
|28||32||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevy||396||Functioning|
|29||36||31||Justin Haley||Kaulig race||Chevy||396||Functioning|
|30||24||34||Michael McDowell||Motorsports in the front row||Ford||395||Functioning|
|31||31||7||Corey Joy||Spire Motorsports||Chevy||392||Functioning|
|32||23||77||Landon Cassil*||Spire Motorsports||Chevy||390||Functioning|
|33||35||15||JJ Yeley*||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||390||Functioning|
|34||34||78||BJ McLeod||Fast Motorsport Live||Ford||386||Functioning|
|35||27||45||Kurt Busch||23XI Race||Toyota||291||Functioning|
|36||33||51||Cody Ware||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||241||Accident|
|37||37||44||Greg Biffle||New York Race Team||Chevy||96||Suspension|
* – Ineligible for Cup points