South Point 400 Recap: Hamlin Rolls the 11 to Victory Lane

Las Vegas has always been known as a city of risk.

Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. It’s how it goes. Every seat you take has a 50 percent chance for someone to walk away happy, or in most cases mad.

Vegas is known for being the home of boxing’s most prestigious title fights.

As NASCAR made it’s way to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the South Point 400, there was plenty available for fans to enjoy on the fight card.

On the bottom of the card you have the race for the cutoff line for the round of 8. Even if the race marked the the beginning of the round of 12, a bad race here can spell disaster for your run. There was also the top of the championship fight between Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson. It has been a tough fight between the two since the early parts of this season.

However, all eyes were on last week’s incident between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick. Both traded words as they exited their cars, and the trash talking didn’t stop there. It carried on before the race, where Harvick stated that talking to Elliott was like talking to his 9-year old son.

But if anyone were looking for retaliation to come this week, they would not find it. The closest they would come would be UFC president Dana White giving the command to start engines.

As is customary, it wouldn’t be a playoff race without a playoff driver or two starting in the rear due to inspection issues. This time, the 19 of Martin Truex Jr. and the 24 of William Byron found trouble in the room of doom and were forced to the back.

Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney would lead the field to green, with Blaney taking an early lead. By lap eight, Denny Hamlin had found his way into the lead. William Byron would rocket through the field and find his way into the top-ten by lap 18. During the competition caution around lap 25, Christopher Bell would make contact on pit road with Kurt Busch and have extensive damage. Bell wound up finishing in 24th. Larson ended up the winner of stage one.

The race on the track was relatively clean, save for an incident that involved Joey Gase. Gase’s car lost a left rear tire, and he made violent contact with the wall. The car was airborne for a few moments and came to rest. He was taken to the infield care center and then transported to a local area hospital. As of this writing, he was released but seeking care at a Charlotte area hospital upon his return.

The race would settle in, with only the stage breaks for stoppages. Denny Hamlin would take stage two, but Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and Ryan Blaney would find themselves having to take the wavearound to get back on the lead lap. As stage three progressed, you began to see that the race would come down to who was perfect on pit road. With the laps winding down, Chase Elliott began to close in on Hamlin. For Elliott, it was a great showing at a track he has had trouble at over the years. He found himself getting closer and closer to Hamlin, but with time running out, Denny Hamlin would hold on to pick up his second win of the season. The win also shows a return to form for the 11 team that is getting hot at the right time. Hamlin finds himself now locked into the round of 8 with the unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway up next on the schedule.

In the battle for the cutoff spot, William Byron finds himself four points out, with Harvick seven points behind. It may be getting late early for Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell, who find themsevles 13 and 25 points out, respectively.

Up next on the schedule is Talladega, a very unpredictable race track. Known for its share of first time and surprise winners, time will only tell if the winner will come from the playoff participants. Kevin Harvick leads all playoff drivers with 41 starts, while Brad Keselowski has six wins.

But for now, Denny Hamlin can celebrate the jackpot he hit in Vegas.

Featured photo from @LVMotorSpeedway on Twitter.

Published by Phillip Spain

A 25 year veteran in the world Motorsports, Phil loves anything with an engine. When he’s not watching cars, he’s out with family.

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