NASCAR Barometer: Hamlin Wins Rain-Shortened Toyota 500
NASCAR Barometer: Hamlin Wins Rain-Shortened Toyota 500

This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.

Denny Hamlin's decision to stay out under caution put him in position to pull away on the final restart Wednesday night at Darlington Raceway to score his second win of the season. Hamlin's car stuck on the restart and he pulled ahead in the lead as battles flared behind him. Ultimately, contact between his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott brought out the final yellow flag of the night as rain began to fall hard enough to end the proceedings. That stoppage allowed Hamlin to pull even with Joey Logano, who together are the only drivers to win multiple times so far this year.

Unlike Sunday's race, Wednesday did not see a single dominant driver. The lead was traded amongst a handful of quick competitors throughout the night. Clint Bowyer led the most laps with 71, but late contact with the wall meant he wasn't in contention for the win at the end. A big difference in competition compared to Sunday was the greater presence of the Gibbs Toyotas. The team finished first and second with Hamlin and Busch while Erik Jones also scored a top-five. Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, the two main contenders in Sunday's race, rounded out the top five.

This week, the competitors face two races in one week at the same circuit. First up is Sunday's traditional Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600, which will be followed on Wednesday by a 310-mile race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval. Toyota-powered drivers

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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