After the first race in the Round of 12, Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag. It was a tight race throughout the night. However, in the end, there was one driver on top of the rest.
In a strange twist of events, Tyler Reddick finished very high in the race. He was eliminated last week from the Playoffs after failing to make the top-12.
For Hamlin and his team, this was a great night. In the first stage, Kyle Larson took the win. He leads the standings and is a heavy favorite to win the entire thing. After the first stage was over, the action continued and Will Byron made a charge for the lead. By the end of the second stage, Hamlin came away with the win. Larson and Hamlin could end up battling neck and neck for the championship as the playoffs continue.
The No. 15, Joey Gase had a hard hit and was taken to the hospital following Stage 2. That wasn’t an easy hit he took and it was tough to watch on television. However, he did walk to the ambulance on his own power.
This was a great race for Hamlin. He stayed patient throughout the race and then found his grooves and lines. Up against the slate of great drivers, especially the 12 that are fighting for those top-8 spots in the next round, it isn’t easy keeping things under control. The pressure just mounts each week as the stakes get higher.
This came down to execution and Hamlin executed, it’s as easy as that.
Denny Hamlin Takes Checkered Flag Reddick Plays Spoiler
Denny Hamlin raced well all day. Throughout all the stages, he kept his lines tight and avoided contact. As the last 20 laps came around, Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car came right up behind him. Elliott has threatened to jump up in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Standings, right now he is in place to move on to the next round. However, a win has alluded him so far in the Playoffs.
As for drivers out of the Playoffs, Tyler Reddick played spoiler. Reddick was eliminated in the Round of 16 last week in Bristol. However, that didn’t stop him from coming to Las Vegas and racing his ass off against the top-12. He put himself right up in the lead at one point and maintained his presence in the top-5 for a large portion of Stage 3. It took a gutsy performance to come out and race the way he did after being eliminated.
So, the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs now head to Talledega Superspeedway for the YellaWood 500. That kicks off the month of October with a great race at one of the best venues in all of NASCAR. With all the momentum that Denny Hamlin has, he could be looking to make a big statement.
As it stands right now, the top-12 has a bit of a new order from last week. Denny Hamlin moves onto the Round of 8 with his win. Following him are Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, and Christopher Bell.