Denny Hamlin spins and wins Chase opener

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Denny Hamlin overcame an early spin that put him a lap down and charged into the lead on the final restart to win Sunday’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Hamlin, driving with a torn ACL in his right knee, advances to the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards, who overcame a speeding penalty, finished second and was followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth. Hamlin’s victory marked the eighth in the last 10 races for JGR.

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Reigning champion Kevin Harvick crashed shortly after contact with Jimmie Johnson on a restart and lost more than 50 laps while his crew made repairs in the garage. He finished 42nd and all but needs to win one of the next two races to advance to the second round. Afterward, Harvick struck Johnson in the motorhome lot after Johnson went to discuss their incident.

The key moment for the win came on a debris caution with nine laps left. Busch was in front but didn’t pit, leading him to say on the radio after several others stopped: “I can’t believe we stayed out.”

Busch was one of three drivers not to pit. The others were Jeff Gordon and Hamlin. Gordon faded on the restart and finished 14th. Hamlin charged into the lead and was not challenged for his second win of the year.

HOW DENNY HAMLIN WON: While the focus will be on crew chief Dave Rogers’ decision not to pit Hamlin on the final caution, allowing Hamlin to restart third, what happened earlier in the race should not be overlooked. Hamlin fell a lap down after he spun on the second lap after hitting AJ Allmendinger’s, causing the No. 47 to spin in front of him. What followed was the longest stretch of green-flag racing all season and Hamlin managed to stay only one lap behind. He got that back when he didn’t pit during a caution on Lap 131. Hamlin then got to pit under caution when Kevin Harvick crashed to bring out the caution on Lap 139 after contact with Jimmie Johnson. That put Hamlin back even with the leaders and gave him the chance to win.

CHASE DRIVERS WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Carl Edwards overcame a speeding penalty – his fifth of the season – and running out of fuel as he came down for a pit stop on another occasion to finish second. … Where have we seen this before? Ryan Newman scored a fourth-place finish, putting himself in a good spot to advance to the second round after not running in the top five most of the day. … Kurt Busch’s third-place finish was his best result since placing second at Sonoma in June.

CHASE DRIVERS WHO HAD A BAD DAY: The Chase took a dramatic turn when Kevin Harvick crashed just past halfway. He hit the wall after a left-rear tire blew. That came a few laps after contact with Jimmie Johnson on the restart. Harvick finished 42nd. … Clint Bowyer was never a factor and finished 19th, placing ahead of only Harvick among Chase drivers. … Kyle Busch led a race-high 121 laps but fell back late and finished ninth – a bad day considering where he spent much of the day.

NOTABLE: NASCAR’s restart policy – which officials reminded drivers of before the race – was tested when Jeff Gordon took the lead from Kyle Busch on a Lap 145 restart. NASCAR announced it was reviewing the restart but decided no infraction had been committed. No other restart was reviewed Sunday. … Kyle Larson was the highest-finishing non-Chase driver, placing seventh. … Aric Almirola was the only other non-Chase driver to place in the top 10, finishing 10th.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I just held my ground and he slammed into the side of the door like I wasn’t even there,” Kevin Harvick on the incident with Jimmie Johnson that led to Harvick crashing. They later met in the motorhome lot and Harvick struck Johnson.

NEXT: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races Sept. 27 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the second race of the Chase.


Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

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JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime


Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

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Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins


Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

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MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.