The NASCAR Cup Series returned to the track Sunday night to race the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This also marked the start of the Round of 12 of the NASCAR Playoffs. With two wildcard tracks to follow in the round, the drivers remaining in the playoffs wanted to clinch their spot into the Round of 8. In the end, one driver would do just that. After going winless all season, Denny Hamlin has now won two races in the NASCAR Playoffs. He has nothing to worry about the next two weeks after dominating the final stage at LVMS. Read on for a NASCAR recap of Sunday’s action in Sin City.
NASCAR Cup Series Recap | Denny Hamlin Wins at Las Vegas
South Point 400 Stage 1
Kyle Larson started on the pole, took the green flag and the race was underway from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin quickly passed Larson and battled for the lead until the competition caution came out at Lap 26. Hamlin won the race off of pit road and continued to lead when they took the green again. Larson’s car finally came around, and the No. 5 took over the lead. He continued where he left off in March at LVMS by winning Stage 1.
South Point 400 Stage 2
Denny Hamlin won the race off of pit road during the stage break and took over the lead once again. Kyle Larson continued his rally against him by making the high line work to get the lead back. William Byron timed a run perfectly and got around both the No. 5 and the No. 11 to take the lead before the first caution for cause came out. Joey Gase had a tire go down and his car spun violently into the wall. He was taken to an ambulance and transferred to a hospital for further evaluation.
Larson and the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports quartet stayed out during the caution. This was the wrong call as everyone else was able to make it the rest of the stage on fuel and the HMS teammates would all be lapped after pitting under green. Fortunately, Chase Elliott unlapped himself and Byron got in position to be the lucky dog before the end of the stage. Hamlin assumed the lead when Larson pitted and went on to win Stage 2.
South Point 400 Final Stage
Denny Hamlin stayed out front by winning the race off of pit road and took the green flag for the restart. Martin Truex Jr. did not let Hamlin get away and eventually managed to take over the lead. Hamlin returned the favor by getting back around the No. 19 just a few laps later. Tyler Reddick started to gain some ground on Hamlin as the run went on. Green flag pit stops started and Hamlin came in while Reddick tried to wait for a caution. It did not work out for the No. 8 and he lost spots to several drivers.
After Austin Dillon finally pitted, Hamlin cycled back to the lead. Chase Elliott rallied late to challenge Hamlin for the lead, but he ran out of time. The No. 11 sailed to the win to lock up his spot in the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8.
South Point 400 Final Thoughts
The spring Las Vegas race was way better than Sunday’s South Point 400. Hamlin is finally coming alive in the playoffs and this is what some people expected earlier in the season for the No. 11 team. Interestingly enough, the two guys who ride the wall (Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick) both should have had better finishes. Unfortunately, both were on the wrong end of pit strategies. Next week could throw a monkey wrench into the NASCAR Playoffs as the action heads to Talladega Superspeedway.
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