NASCAR Sports Update: Hamlin snags victory in Talladega thriller (10/4/20) By: Josh Scott
Denny Hamlin edged out Matt DiBenedetto by .023 seconds, in triple Overtime, to win the YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. The win was Hamlin's seventh of 2020 and the 44th of his career. The victory was also Hamlin's second Talladega win, which is his fifth total on a superspeedway track.
Shortly after the finish, NASCAR penalized DiBenedetto for forcing William Byron below the double-yellow line on the final lap, ridding him of his second-place finish. Erik Jones, who crossed the finish line third, was awarded second place. DiBenedetto ended up finishing 21st.
Ty Dillon finished third, followed by Byron and Chase Elliott. Ryan Newman, rookies Tyler Reddick and John Hunter Nemechek, Brennan Poole, and Ryan Preece rounded out the top 10. Dillon and Poole achieved career-best finishes. Ryan Blaney, winner of the last two Talladega races, crashed out of the event and finished 25th.
Chris Buescher captured the Stage One win, his first career stage win. The Texas native finished the race sixth, but like DiBenedetto, would also be penalized by forcing a driver below the double-yellow line. Buescher ended up finishing 22nd, the last car on the lead lap. Martin Truex Jr, the Stage Two winner, finished 23rd. Truex has yet to win on a superspeedway track.
In typical Talladega fashion, the infamous "Big One" made its presence known throughout the 500-mile race. Contact between Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson on lap 108 sparked an 11-car pileup, eliminating drivers such as rookie Cole Custer, Bowyer, and last week's winner Kurt Busch. Busch's number 1 Chevy Camaro was launched into the air after contact with Custer's number 41 car. Busch's car never flipped and came back down on all four tires. The Las Vegas native walked away under his own power.
Another big crash ensued on lap 201, the race's first Overtime attempt, collecting seven drivers including Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch.
14 out of the 39 drivers that started the race did not finish.
After a wreck-filled Talladega race that ended with a controversial finish, the Playoff standings after the YellaWood 500 are pictured below:
Both Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin have automatically advanced to the Round of 8 by winning a race. Ten out of 12 Playoff drivers were involved in at least one of the race's 13 cautions.
The Cup Series travels back home for the third annual race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Four drivers face the threat of elimination as the Roval serves as the third and final race of the Round of 12. The Bank of America Roval 400 starts at 2:30 p.m. next Sunday on NBC.