With three laps to go Sunday night in the 68th Bojangles’ Southern 500, Martin Truex Jr. was fighting to hold off Denny Hamlin for a second straight win at Darlington. Then his hopes at victory went up in tire smoke. A blown right front knocked him into the wall and opened the door for Hamlin to speed away to the checkered flag for his second Southern 500 victory. Hamlin, who at one point trailed the leader by 10 seconds after missing pit road on lap 314, rallied to be in position for the win, and might have passed Truex on his own away as he was faster as the laps were running down. But Truex’s misfortune sealed the deal for him.
Truex Jr. talks about seeing a Southern 500 win slip away
Truex, who led 76 laps, won both stages in the race giving him 17 on the season and the regular season championship. He finished 8th overall.
Kyle Busch came in second followed by Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Eric Jones. Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving in his final race at Darlington, did not lead a lap and finished 22nd. Earnhardt Jr. never won a pole or a race at Darlington in 22 Cup series starts.
Hamlin, who also won Saturday’s Xfinity race, now has two Monster Energy Cup Series wins this season and 31 in his career. He is 9th in the playoff standings with one final regular season race left next week at Richmond.
Hamlin talks about his Southern 500 victory