Richmond Raceway has been home to some great racing and today was no different. NASCAR vet Denny Hamlin wins the Toyota Owners 400. There was a lot of speculation about how the Next Gen cars would respond to the track. It seems like they handled it without much issue. Kurt Busch had a fuel problem, but that was fixed shortly after.
There were some bumps and rubs that led to some wrecks on the day. However, for the most part, the racing was clean and fast. A few drivers made their case for the win today, but it was Hamlin that found the edge needed to win. The veteran driver
Through the first six races this season, 5 green flag pit cycles have happened. With an expectation that pit stops would increase, the field took 4 green flag pit stops on the short track today. Almost doubling the season total. A lot of strategy and thought went into this race. It was just as much a battle between pit crews as it was between the drivers on the track. A strong chase pack of Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, and Kevin Harvick put a lot of pressure on the front group.
It was Truex pretty much the entire race. He was in that top-5 position the entire way it seemed and made the right stops and moves that he needed to. William Byron was working hard to get his second win on the season, and the No. 24 ran really well. Guys like Larson and Blaney started to catch those front runners and were turning in laps faster than either the 24 or 19.
Then, with about 10 laps to go, it was Denny Hamlin who was driving fast as a bat out of hell. He took home the first win for Toyota in the Next Gen era.
NASCAR Vet Denny Hamlin Wins Toyota Owners 400 to Start Short Track Season
It will be very interesting to see what happens with the short tracks moving forward. Will we see the Toyotas run well on these courses moving forward? It is hard to say. There has been a lot to desire out of the drivers, but today’s Toyota Owner’s 400 was the best performance from the manufacturer all season. Fitting that a Toyota driver took the win today.
Joe Gibbs Racing had a strong showing with their team that ran four drivers in that top-15 the entire race. It was impressive, to say the least. Last week’s COTA winner, Ross Chastain, had more top-5 finishes than anyone this season until his poor performance today. The top-11 drivers were on the lead lap together. So, everyone from 12th and back was behind at least one lap. Not where you want to be after a big win.
Another week, another exciting finish in NASCAR as Denny Hamlin showed the young guys how it’s done and wins the Toyota Owners 400. There have been some good races this season. Next Gen cars are as good as they were billed and they keep passing tests with flying colors. Richmond Raceway, out of the way. Next week, Martinsville for another great weekend of racing.