Denny Hamlin wins Xfinity Series’ ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway

2 Comments

Denny Hamlin led all but two laps on his way to winning the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway for his 12th career Xfinity Series win.

Hamlin and his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won from the pole, the fourth time he’s done so but the first time he’s done it away from Darlington Raceway.

“There’s not much you could complain about,” Hamlin said. “The car was flawless and this reminds me a lot of the night I had in Cup a few years ago where we led every lap but one I think and we had a flat tire with 15 laps to go. So it reminded me of that and we were just thinking about all the scenarios in your head of how you’re going to lose it, but luckily all the cautions fell the way we needed them to and we were able to get a victory.”

With Hamlin’s win, Toyota now has 100 in Xfinity Series since joining the series in 2007.

Hamlin also delivered Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th win in the Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2012.

“It’s such a big weekend for everyone at Toyota and I didn’t know that they had 99 wins,” Hamlin said. “They told me before the race, ‘Hey, if things go well, it’s 100.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa, whoa. Don’t.’ I’m very superstitious when it comes to that kind of stuff. I didn’t know when it was 99 on the Cup side for JGR.”

Joey Logano finished second and was followed by Regan Smith, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott.

Friday’s win was Hamlin’s first in the Xfinity Series since winning at Richmond in 2011.

Logano started and came in second a week after leading every lap on the way to the win at Bristol Motor Speedway

“(Hamlin) was just so fast,” Logano said. “We had nothing for him. We had a second place Discount Tire Ford Mustang and that is right where we finished. We knew he was fast in practice and it transferred right over. I know what it is like to be on the other end of the butt whooping and it isn’t as much fun from this side.”

How Hamlin won: Hamlin started from the pole and only gave up the lead twice, edged by Brian Scott at the line on a mid-race restart, and Elliott Sadler led one lap during green flag pit stops.

Who else had a good day: Regan Smith was the highest finishing Xfinity regular, placing third after starting eighth. After a career best second-place finish last weekend at Bristol, Daniel Suarez followed it by finishing sixth at Richmond. Suarez stayed steady at 10th in the points standings.

Who had a bad day: Chris Buescher, who came into Friday’s race on top of the points standing, finished 20th, three laps down. He is now third, 11 points behind Ty Dillon and three points behind Chase Elliott. … Kevin Harvick’s stretch of 29 Xfinity Series races with a top-10 finish was snapped. Harvick finished in 18th, two laps down after his car experienced technical problems after a Lap 139 restart. His 29-race streak is second to Sam Ard’s stretch of 42 races from 1983-84.

Notables: Hamlin’s win was the 22nd straight at Richmond by a Sprint Cup regular and it was his third Xfinity win at the track. The victory was the seventh for the Toyota Camry in Xfinity competition at Richmond.

Quote of the Day: Joey Logano on winner Denny Hamlin: “He just toyed with me all night long. Now I know what it feels like to be on the other end of it after last weekend.”

What’s next: Winn-Dixie 300 on Saturday, May 2, at Talladega Superspeedway

Unofficial Results for ToyotaCare 250:

1. Denny Hamlin … 250 laps
2. Joey Logano … 250 laps
3. Regan Smith … 250 laps
4. Erik Jones … 250 laps
5. Chase Elliott … 250 laps
6. Daniel Suarez … 250 laps
7. Brian Scott … 250 laps
8. Austin Dillon … 250 laps
9. Ty Dillon … 249 laps
10. Landon Cassill … 249 laps
11. Brendan Gaughan … 249 laps
12. Darrell Wallace Jr. … 249 laps
13. Brennan Poole … 249 laps
14. Jeremy Clements … 249 laps
15. Aric Almirola … 249 laps
16. Elliott Sadler … 249 laps
17. Ross Chastain … 248 laps
18. Kevin Harvick … 248 laps
19. J.J. Yeley … 248 laps
20. Chris Buescher … 247 laps
21. Ryan Reed … 247 laps
22. Harrison Rhodes … 246 laps
23. Mike Bliss … 246 laps
24. Blake Koch … 246 laps
25. Cale Conley… 246 laps
26. Joey Gase … 246 laps
27. Dakoda Armstrong … 246 laps
28. Dylan Lupton … 246 laps
29. David Starr … 245 laps
30. Branadon Gdovic … 245 laps
31. Ryan Sieg … 244 laps
32. Peyton Sellers … 241 laps
33. Jimmy Weller …  240 laps
34. Carlos Contreras … 238 laps
35. Derrike Cope … 234 laps
36. Eric McClure … 205 laps
37. Carl Long … 43 laps
38. Timmy Hill … 31 laps
39. Mike Harmon … 3 laps
40. Jeff Green … 2 laps

Time of Race: 1 Hour, 50 Minutes and 47 Seconds

Average Speed:  101.550 mph

Margin of Victory: 3.719 seconds

Caution Flags: 3 for 24 laps

Lead changes: 4 among 3 drivers