Experience — Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington and Denny Hamlin won Wednesday’s Cup race there. They have combined for 89 career series wins. They also have combined for five Darlington wins with Hamlin now owning three victories. With no practice and no qualifying before either event, they excelled. The top four finishers — Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski — are all former champions.
Denny Hamlin’s mask — OK, it did look a bit odd but he said that with wearing a mask “you really don’t get any sense of any emotion.” Everyone did Wednesday night with his smiling mask.
Erik Jones — He has never finished worse than eighth in six starts at Darlington. He finished fifth Wednesday.
Christopher Bell — It’s been a rough start to the season for the rookie. He finished a season-high 11th on Wednesday. He had not finished better than 21st in the series before Wednesday.
Chase Elliott — His hopes for a Darlington win were dashed late when Kyle Busch turned him. Busch later apologized but also said: “I’ll definitely reach out to him and tell him I’m sorry, tell him I hate that it happened and all I can do but that doesn’t change the outcome of the night.”
Ryan Preece — With NASCAR inverting the top-20 finishers from Sunday for the starting lineup Wednesday, he started on the pole. He earned that spot by passing Bubba Wallace for 20th place with three laps to go Sunday. It didn’t help him Wednesday. Preece finished last after his engine blew. JTG Daugherty Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished last on Sunday.
NASCAR officials — The Cup Rule Book clearly states that “at no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface or apron.” That’s exactly what Chase Elliott did after he was wrecked by Kyle Busch on Wednesday night. Elliott walked toward the track to give Busch the middle finger. NASCAR added the rule about drivers not approaching the track in 2014 shortly after Tony Stewart hit and killed a sprint car driver who had exited his car and walked down the track to gesture at Stewart. NASCAR told NBC Sports after the race that it did not plan to penalize Elliott or talk to him about walking toward the track.