NASCAR: Denny Hamlin wins Southern 500 at Darlington
By: Adam Niemeyer (FOX19 Sports)
Not bad for a guy who had knee surgery a month ago.
Denny Hamlin won the Southern 500 on Saturday night, capturing his third victory this season, and his second since he had his ACL repaired on the last day of March.
"All we do is win," Hamlin radioed to his crew as he crossed the line ahead of pole sitter Jamie McMurray by nearly two seconds. Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top five.
"If we had gotten out front I think we had something for him," Jeff Gordon said. Gordon led 110 laps on the evening. The fourth place finish was Gordon's 21st top-ten at Darlington. A late-race caution led to pit stops which shuffled Gordon back deep in the field.
"We had a top-two car all day," Hamlin said in victory lane. With the win Hamlin jumped up to sixth in the points standings. Kevin Harvick—the points leader—finished sixth.
Jimmie Johnson got taken out in an incident on lap 180 when A.J. Allmendinger lost his brakes and spun into the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion. Johnson is still second in the standings, but dropped to 110 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick because of the wreck.
Joe Gibbs Racing cars have won four of the six races in which NASCAR has run the new rear spoiler set up. Hamlin has won three of those races, and teammate Kyle Busch, who finished seventh in the race, won the other.
South Boston, Va., native Jeff Burton finished eighth. Ryan Newman and Brian Vickers rounded out the top ten.
Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover, Del., for the Autism Speaks 400, which can be seen on FOX19 at noon on Sunday.