DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Denny Hamlin beat Ryan Blaney by .014-seconds in NASCAR overtime to win the rain-delayed Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The win was Hamlin’s second-straight Daytona 500 victory, the first back-to-back winner since Sterling Marlin in 1994-1995.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said Hamlin. “It’s so unexpected. I mean, I knew they were going to come with a big run there. My job was to just make sure I didn’t put a block that was going to wreck me, live to race another corner. Proud of this whole FedEx team. Great to have my girls here. Great to have the team celebrating back-to-back — I can’t even tell you what it means to me.”
Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman was leading off turn 4 coming to the checkered flag when contact sent Newman’s No. 6 Ford into the outside wall where it bounced-off back into the path of the Corey La Joie who had nowhere to go.
Newman had to be extricated from the car and was taken to Halifax Medical Center. Roush Fenway Racing late Monday night released a statement in regards to Newman’s condition following the frightening crash.
— Roush Fenway (@roushfenway) February 18, 2020
“We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push,” said Blaney. “I kind of went low and he blocked that and so I was committed to pushing him to the win and have a Ford win it. I don’t know. We just got the bumpers hooked up wrong and I turned him.”
“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are,” said Hamlin. “But number one, we’re praying for Ryan. Worked really well with Ryan through this whole race, and obviously he got turned right there.”
The Gibbs team was booed by fans for celebrating Hamlin’s victory while emergency crews were trying to get Newman out of his mangled race car. Team owner Joe Gibbs apologized and explained what immediately happened after the checkered flag flew.
“I say to everybody out there, some people may have saw us and said, ‘well these guys are celebrating when there’s a serious issue going on'”, said Gibbs. “I apologize to everybody, but we really didn’t know. We got in the winner’s circle, and then that’s when people told us, later on in the winner’s circle. So I wanted to explain that to everyone.”
The victory was Hamlin’s third Daytona 500 victory and 38th of his Cup Series career. Hamlin also became just the fourth driver to win back-to-back 500’s, joining Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Marlin.
Hamlin is now tied with Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon for third-most DAYTONA 500 wins all-time.
Chris Buescher finished third followed by David Ragan and Kevin Harvick.
Hometown Boy Kurt Busch Wins In Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch beat Matt DiBenedetto and Denny Hamlin in overtime to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The victory was Busch’s first at his hometown track in 23-starts and his first victory in 2020.
“This is what kids dream of when they go racing,” said Busch, who grew up racing on the ‘Bullring’ with his Dad and younger brother Kyle. “You dream of winning at your hometown track and for two decades it’s kicked my butt and tonight with this Monster Energy Chevy, I’m in awe.”
Busch had to survive two late-race restarts to get the victory. Busch got a fantastic restart with 12-laps to go and had a multi-car length lead when Christopher Bell cut a tire and slowed on the front stretch where Hendrick Motorsports William Byron crashed into Bell to bring out the caution with 7-laps to go, sending the race into overtime.
The last restart saw Busch get another great jump out front as DiBenedetto and Hamlin were battling for second place as the No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro raced to the checkered flag.
In case anyone wants to see this greatness one more time, or a thousand more pic.twitter.com/ZCNZppJrWW
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) September 28, 2020
“I pulled out some drag racing skills on the restarts,” said Busch. “I knew that was our strong suit. I knew that was Ford’s weak suit. We just put ourselves in position and we held them off. Chip Ganassi was up in the suites somewhere and I could feel him breathing down my neck ‘I want to win’ and we did it.”
The win also automatically advances Busch to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs giving him and the No. 1 Monster Energy/GEARWRENCH team a little bit of a buffer before the Playoff field is narrowed down to the Round of 4 after races at Talladega Superspeedway and ‘The Roval’ at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Busch. “It’s sinking in, no Talladega worries, no Roval worries but we’re still going there to get points. We’re still going there to add up what we need to do to win this Championship.”
DiBenedetto held on for second place followed by Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman.
The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs move onto Talladega Superspeedway October 4, 2020.
Chase Briscoe Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Briscoe dominated the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff opener Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, punching his ticket to the second round.
Briscoe won all three stages and beat Noah Gragson on a late restart to win the Alsco 300. The victory was Briscoe’s eighth of the season and 10th career win in 78 Xfinity Series starts.
“An unbelievable car,” said Briscoe, who led a race-high 164-laps. “That thing was on rails. It was so easy to drive. By far the best race car I’ve ever had.”
The victory gives Briscoe a 17-point lead over Austin Cindric in the Championship fight. Cindric finished sixth.
Gragson, a Las Vegas native, wanted to park his JR Motorsports Chevrolet in victory lane in front of the hometown crowd.
“It’s good to get points but it’s kind of frustrating,” said Gragson. “We were all doing everything we could. I was kind of the best of the rest. The 98 (Briscoe) was so fast.”
The second place finish moved Gragson up a spot in the Championship standings, 34-points behind Briscoe and 17-points behind Cindric.
Daniel Hemric finished third followed by Justin Allgaier in fourth. Ryan Sieg rounded out the Top 5.
The Xfinity Series title fight moves to Talladega Superspeedway on October 3, 2020.
Austin Hill Wins NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Westgate 200
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Austin Hill grabbed the lead on a restart with 39-laps remaining and powered to the victory in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Westgate 200 Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hill’s Weins Canada Toyota crossed the finish line 0.546-seconds ahead of Sheldon Creed, punching Hill’s ticket to the next round of the NASCAR Playoffs.
“We didn’t start the race where we wanted to after having a bad race at Bristol,” said Hill. “Track position was huge today. Seemed like back in the pack it was pretty hard to pass. I knew when we were restarting up front there we had to get aggressive, and that’s what I did.”
Creed led a race-high 89 of the 134 laps but had to settle for second place after winning both the first and second stage of the race.
“Frustrating honestly,” Creed said of the runner-up finish. “Way faster truck than him (Hill). I feel like the pace picked up there at the end running the top. He’d run half a truck off the wall and I’d run against the wall. He’d slide up and I would get really tight or really loose behind him. Just couldn’t do anything.”
Creed did earn a race-high 55-points as well as 2-playoff points to help in the Championship fight.
Tanner Gray finished third followed by Stewart Friesen in fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the Top 5.
The race featured four lead changes among four drivers. Five caution flags for 25-laps slowed the average speed of the race to 119.861-seconds.
The next race for the Truck Series is October 3, 2020 at Talladega Superspeedway.