It was an intense battle for the lead in the Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway, as the two front running cars came into contact and tangled just two laps remaining to the end of the race. This gave way for Brandon to get a rather unexpected win.
There was a thrilling last 10 laps between Xfinity series regular Denny Hamlin and 2020 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin as they gave fans a thrilling spectacle as they competed for the lead but they both had contact around turn 3 with only two laps to go allowing car No.23(Brandon Jones) to get around them and get the checkered flag.
Ross Chastain recovered from the contact to earn his 4th runner up of the season just crossing the finish line 3.363 seconds after Brandon Jones. Ryan Sieg(RSS Racing) came in third as it was quite an excellent performance by Riley Herbst who came in fourth despite being a rookie. The fifth position was rounded up by Hamlin. The rest of the top tens were taken by rookie Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson, Michael Annett, Austin Hill and rookie Myatt Snider.
“This is a tough place to get around and man, just smart in the head I think today, I think that’s what got ’em,” said driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Brandon Jones.
“I saw they were really racing hard and I knew I was catching them and we knew he (Hamlin) was gonna pull that big slider. That’s what you gotta do sometimes to get yourself in position.”
Chastain showed a series of mixed reactions regarding to the duel with Hamlin but despite the mishap managed to secure a berth in the 12-driver Xfinity Series Playoffs. he has also won five Xfinity Series wins at Darlington and is also the highest ranked driver still without a win on the year.
“Denny was faster, I knew that, everybody watching NBC knew that. I just kept gripping the top best I could, probably hit (the wall) 25 times,” Chastain said.
“To be able to be up against a guy like Denny Hamlin, a future Cup champion and go to the end like that with him, I’m proud of this group, proud of the effort,” the 5-time champion winner added. “It’s another heartbreak, but we man, we finished and we still finished second with a beat-up race car.”
Denny Hamlin had started last being the 37th car on the grid went ahead to win both stages and put a Darlington driving clinic all afternoon trying to come back from a weak starting position and slow pit stop.
Chase Briscoe was a fierce cup contender for the race leading the best 55 laps on Saturday afternoon but he run over a spill left by Brett Moffitt’s damaged car making him to spin out and collide onto the wall with only 30 laps remaining. Despite the downfall the Stewart-Haas driver was able to get the 11th position. The champion Leader Austin Cindric finished 12th.
Brandon Brown’s No.86 Chevrolet suffered damage in a collision between ryan Sieg and Daniel Hemric forcing him to make a whole lots of pit stops to keep the car running but not for a competitive win. The Team’s efforts however paid off as he endend up position 17th.