After a very long day that saw an early practice at 8 in the morning and then qualifying in the afternoon, finally the drivers were ready to race in the Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway.
With Joe Gibbs Racing qualifying with Denny Hamlin on the pole and Kyle Busch in second they would bring the field to green.
We didn’t get to lap five before Brendan Gaughan got loose and hit the wall hard. There was a ton of damage to the car, they headed to the garage.
On the restart Justin Allgaier took the lead from Denny Hamlin and led eight laps but the JGR boys ran him down with Hamlin taking back the lead.
It has not been an easy stint for Clint Bowyer in the No. 21. For the second week in a row he suffered tire problems and this week wrecked hard bringing out the second caution. He went behind the wall to make repairs.
On the restart Justin Allgaier took it three wide with his teammate Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Busch got the raw end of the deal and lost a handful of positions. That three wide action bottled up the field.
The racing started to string out when rookie Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. cut a tire bringing out the caution flag. Not what he needed, another wreck and another poor finish.
The race started to get a long green flag run until Mike Bliss cut a tire with just 50 laps to go. There was a lot of pit road strategy with some teams taking two tires others taking four tires.
On the caution for Mike Bliss, Busch hit pit road and put on his last set of tires while other put on two or just took fuel.
Hamlin was the class of the field and on the restarts was able to really pull away from the field. He was pacing the field with less than 30 laps to go.
Brad Keselowski who was trying to win three races in a row had a strong car on the short runs but in the end the race saw long, green flag runs.
As the trends show a caution late in the race will throw out all strategy. That is exactly what happened when Justin Allgaier spun after cutting a tire.
For the guys like Hamlin and Busch who did not pit and everyone else did they could have been sitting ducks.
Instead on the restarts they were able to pull away and Hamlin went on to win the race with Busch finished second.
The rest of the top 10 Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers and Paul Menards.
Next weekend the series heads to Dover and the monster mile next Saturday at 2ET on ABC.