NASCAR’s second race back from a two-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic saw plenty of action but had an anticlimactic finish, with Denny Hamlin getting the victory at the Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway on Wednesday after the race was called because of rain.
The most dramatic part of the race came with less than 30 laps to go. Kyle Busch, sitting in second, tried to make a move past Hamlin on the inside, but couldn’t complete the pass. Chase Elliott then passed Busch on the outside, and with Kevin Harvick closing down the space, Busch tried to cut him off but instead clipped Elliott and spun him out, ending Elliott’s hunt for a win.
That wreck freed up Hamlin, his teammate, to seal the win as the race was called with 20 laps to go. Busch, who had some damage on his fender from wrecking Elliott, finished second. Elliott, who delivered a one-finger salute to Busch on the track following the wreck, finished 38th.
MORE: NASCAR at Darlington: Chase Elliott flips off Kyle Busch after late spin
“I’ve got my happy face on, made sure I brought it with me today,” Hamlin said from inside his car on pit road, referring to a face mask depicting a huge smile. “The pit crew did a great job today, everybody really. I was pretty happy with how it all turned out.
“It’s a driver’s race track,” said the three-time Darlington winner. “You can move around and you can do different things to make your car handle and we got it right today.”
While Hamlin got the win, Clint Bowyer was probably the most dominant racer of the night. He won the first two stages but fell out of the lead pack with 33 laps to go after losing his right rear tire due to damage caused by brushing up against the wall. He finished 22nd.
Kevin Harvick, the winner of Sunday’s Real Heroes 400 at Darlington, had another impressive run on the track that’s too tough to tame with a third-place finish. Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Sporting News tracked live updates and lap-by-lap highlights for Wednesday’s NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway. Follow along below for results from the Toyota 500. (Material from the NASCAR Wire Service was used in this report.)
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NASCAR at Darlington results, highlights from Toyota 500
|10||Martin Truex Jr.|
|25||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|35||John Hunter Nemechek|
10:48 p.m. — The race has been called and Denny Hamlin is the winner of the Toyota 500
10:45 p.m. — FOX ON THE TRACK! Look at this cute little fella.
10:42 p.m. — Cars are heading to pit road and we’re under rain delay with 20 laps to go. No telling if they’ll get back out there.
10:37 p.m. — Rain is coming down now with 24 laps to go, they might not be able to finish if it keeps up. Denny Hamlin is in front, Kyle Busch in second, Kevin Harvick in third.
10:31 p.m. — Green flag comes back out with 30 laps to go, but doesn’t last long as Kyle Busch turns Chase Elliott and forces a caution. Elliott isn’t too happy about that one.
Elliott gives the one-finger. salute to Kyle Busch.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) May 21, 2020
10:24 p.m. — Caution out for Clint Bowyer after he loses his rear right tire due to damage from hitting the wall a couple laps earlier. Only 33 to go.
10:21 p.m. — Chase Elliott gets the jump on the restart and leads with 40 laps to go. Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch round out the top five.
10:09 p.m. — After the longest run of the night there’s another caution as Matt Kenseth loses control with 49 laps to go. Four cars on the lead lap: Brad Keselowski, Brennan Poole, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin
9:58 p.m. — Chase Elliott passes Erik Jones for the lead with 69 laps left after a bump into the wall has Jones’ car driving tight.
9:47 p.m. — Erik Jones has taken a sizeable lead after an impressive run off the restart. Chase Elliott in second, Kevin Harvick in third and Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman battling for fourth with 89 laps to go.
9:44 p.m. — Ryan Newman didn’t pit after Stage 2, so he’s out in front on the restart with 96 laps to go. Could be in position to win if the rain moves in.
9:35 p.m. — Bowyer pulls the sweep with the win in Stage 2. Big night for the No. 14 car. Chase Elliott finishes second, Martin Truex Jr. in third.
9:30 p.m. — The race is official now after hitting the halfway point of 114 laps. Clint Bowyer has retaken the lead, Chase Elliott in second, Martin Truex Jr. in third.
9:22 p.m. — Caution flag is out, looks like Cole Custer hit the wall and tore up his tire with 17 laps left in Stage 2.
9:18 p.m. — We’re through 100 laps at Darlington: Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., William Byron and Aric Almirola round out the top five.
9:12 p.m. — Martin Truex Jr. takes the lead off the restart. After 90 laps, it’s him, Kevin Harvick and William Byron up front.
9:06 p.m. — Another caution, this time for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after 82 laps.
9:05 p.m. — We’re 20 laps into Stage 2; Bowyer, Truex Jr., Bowman, Almirola and Newman up front.
8:56 p.m. — Welp, there’s a caution now as Chris Buescher goes into the wall around turn two. Looks like he got a bump from Michael McDowell.
8:55 p.m. — Ryan Preece is having issues, but no caution as he’s able to get it down on the apron.
8:54 p.m. — Off the restart for Stage 2, here’s the top 10: Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and Joey Logano. We’re on Lap 69. Some really nice racing so far.
8:43 p.m. — Clint Bowyer wins Stage 1 by some distance.
8:38 p.m. — After 50 laps, there’s just 10 left in Stage 1: Clint Bowyer out in front, Ryan Blaney in second and Alex Bowman in third.
8:30 p.m. — “That is shoving the hotdog into the bun.” – Mike Joy. Pause.
8:27 p.m. — We’re half way through Stage 1 on the restart; Bubba Wallace takes the early lead but Clint Bowyer is able to get out in front. Blaney moves up to second, Logano up to third, Bowman up to fourth and Wallace back in fifth.
8:22 p.m. — Competition caution up after 25 laps; Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman still make up the top five as they head to pit road.
8:18 p.m. — After 20 laps, Joey Logano has the lead. Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman round out the top five.
8:11 p.m. — Oh no. Another caution, and again it’s John Hunter Nemechek. Seems like the fender damage on his car is messing up his tires. Not the best 12 laps of his life, for sure.
8:09 p.m. — Ty Dillon takes the outside to get out front on the restart, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney behind him.
8:03 p.m. — We made it about three laps without a crash, but John Hunter Nemechek spins out and the yellow flag is up.
8:02 p.m. — The green flag waves and we are finally underway.
7:41 p.m. — Guy Fieri tells the drivers to start their engines. Welcome to Flavortown, NASCAR.
7:15 p.m. — We finally have a start time: the National Anthem will play at 7:30 p.m. and the green flag will fly at 7:50. So much for moving up the start time…
6:57 p.m. — Another weather update:
NASCAR is preparing to move the cars to pit road. They’ll do so on the Turn 1 side of pit road. Air Titans says they need to make a couple of more passes by pit exit before they do.
Once the start gridding cars on pit road, Titans and dryers will work on pit entry.
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) May 20, 2020
6:11 p.m. — The race has been delayed, but it’s looking like they’re going to be able to get started shortly.
5:38 p.m. — It’s been raining on and off in Darlington, but there’s hope that things might clear up soon.
What time does the NASCAR race start today?
- Date: Wednesday, May 20
- Start time: 6 p.m. ET (race delayed to after 8 p.m. ET)
- TV channel: FS1
- Live stream: Fox Sports Go | fuboTV (7-day free trial)
The original start time for Wednesday’s race at Darlington was 7:30 p.m. ET, but NASCAR officials moved it up to 6 p.m. due to the threat of inclement weather. The race was moved to after 8 p.m. because of rain.
MORE: Latest weather updates for Darlington
NASCAR starting lineup at Darlington
Here is the complete starting lineup:
|1||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|2||Ty Dillon||13||Germain Racing|
|3||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|4||Clint Bowyer||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|5||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|6||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|7||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|8||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|9||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|10||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|11||Matt Kenseth||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|12||John Hunter Nemechek||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|13||Erik Jones||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|14||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|15||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|16||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|17||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|18||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|19||Alex Bowman||88||Hendrick Motorsports|
|20||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|21||Bubba Wallace||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|22||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|23||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|24||Christopher Bell||95||Leavine Family Racing|
|25||Daniel Suarez||96||Gaunt Brothers Racing|
|26||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|27||Brennan Poole||15||Premium Motorsports|
|28||Gray Gaulding||27||Rick Ware Racing|
|29||JJ Yeley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|30||Joey Gase||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|31||Corey LaJoie||32||Go Fas Racing|
|32||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|33||Timmy Hill||66||MBM Motorsports|
|34||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|35||Quin Houff||00||Starcom Racing|
|36||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||Jimmie Johnson||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|38||BJ McLeod||78||BJ McLeod Motorsports|
|39||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|