Hamlin, aided by late caution, wins at Richmond

Hamlin, aided by late caution, wins at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. — Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. after a caution with two laps to go and won in overtime at Richmond Raceway on Sunday night.

Truex dominated the second half of the NASCAR Cup Series race — he led 288 laps — and seemed poised to hold off challenges by Joey Logano and Hamlin for the final two laps when Kyle Larson got nudged from behind on the front straightaway and skidded into the infield, causing the caution.

“I needed that kind of situation at the end to happen to win it,” Hamlin said.

Larson had been fading from contention before the spin.

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    Larson, who won this race last year, barely beat Truex off pit road during green flag stops with 65 laps to go, but Truex quickly caught him and pulled away as he had many times earlier.

    Logano, who started the race 22nd in points with just one top 10 finish, worked his way into the lead pack in the second half, tried to run down Hamlin in the two-lap dash to the finish and was second, followed by Larson and Truex. It matched Ford’s best finish this season.

    The race was delayed for about 30 minutes at the start because of rain, and the cars circled the track for several laps hoping to help dry the track before the green flag flew. They also ran the opening 30 laps on treaded tires meant for wet conditions before switching to racing slicks.

    The competition caution after 30 laps also was non-competitive, meaning the drivers left pit road in the same position they were running when the caution came out.

    A spin by Daniel Suarez on lap 64 brought out another caution, and NASCAR decided to finish the 70-lap first stage under caution, making Larson the stage winner. NASCAR also sent the track drying vehicles down pit road again hoping to dry out the pit boxes for safety reasons.