When NASCAR made the announcement that they were going to be running Darlington on a Wednesday night, we all had an inkling that it was going to be… interesting. It certainly was that and more. With an advertised distance of just 500K, the Toyota 500 was much different from the race that Kevin Harvick won on Sunday. This time around, drivers, with a bit more confidence and time in the seat after the race three days prior, were aggressive from the get-go, knowing that rain could end it at anytime.
In the end, it fell in the lap of Denny Hamlin. He would go on to win 20 laps before it was planned to over following an excellent pit strategy that had seen him stay out as the leader. Of course, folks will not be able to deny that Chase Elliott’s wreck right before the red flag and subsequent ‘finalization’ had a big role to play. Elliott had just cleared Hamlin’s teammate, Kyle Busch, before he was turned on the straightaway, leading to severe tension on pit road. It ended his chase of victory, and it ultimately froze the running order as well. Hamlin’s win means he won the first NASCAR race held on a Wednesday since 1984, and he denied Harvick, who came in third, the chance to win two points-paying races in such a short span since the days of Richard Petty.