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Monday, October 25, 2021

Who won the NASCAR race yesterday? Complete results from Sunday’s playoff race at Darlington

The winner of Sunday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway ended a season-long drought and put himself into the second round of the playoffs.

Denny Hamlin claimed the checkered flag for the first time in 2021, winning the Cook Out Southern 500. He had to fight off regular-season champion Kyle Larson after Larson made a desperation move on the final turn.

Hamlin led the points standings for most of the regular season despite not winning a race. Larson, who has five wins this year, eventually passed him for the title. Hamlin still made the playoffs comfortably, and now he is assured of being in the Round of 12 with his win in the playoff opener.

Below is more about Hamlin’s win Sunday, plus the complete results of the race.

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Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?  

Denny Hamlin earned his first win of the 2021 Cup Series season by holding off Kyle Larson in the Cook Out Southern 500. Hamlin was leading by about half a second until Turn 4 of the white-flag lap when Larson drove his car way too hard into the corner and right up to Hamlin’s rear bumper. Larson said he tried to “video game it” in desperation.

“He drove it in past the limit of the car and tires,” Hamlin told NBCSN after the race, later adding, “He was going to have to go through me.”

Hamlin and Larson — who combined to lead 302 of the race’s 367 laps — engaged in a drag race to the start/finish line, with Hamlin staying in front to win by a two-tenths of a second.

“Honestly, got to his bumper too quick. I was hoping he was going to run that diamond to kind of be safe and I could skirt to his outside, but gave everything I had,” Larson said, per NASCAR.com.

“I didn’t want to wreck him. I just wanted to try to get to his outside there, but he did a great job not really making any mistakes during the last run, and I was having to push really hard in second to try and just stay with him,” Larson added.

Hamlin passed Kevin Harvick for most Darlington wins among active Cup drivers with his fourth.

NASCAR Cup playoff standings

While Hamlin clinched a second-round berth and Larson increased his playoff points lead, four playoff drivers suffered big hits in the standings after crashing out at the track that’s “Too Tough to Tame.” Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, William Byron and Michael McDowell all ran into trouble and wound up with poor finishes in addition to junked cars.

MORE: Kyle Busch, other playoff drivers knocked out of race early

McDowell was the first to go out, followed by Busch, Byron and Elliott. Busch, Byron and McDowell now occupy the last three spots in the playoff standings, putting them in early danger of being eliminated in the Round of 16. A third Hendrick Motorsports driver, Alex Bowman, is tied for 12th and thus flirting with the cut line. Elliott is in 10th place after the playoff opener.

Ryan Blaney fell from second to fifth after a 22nd-place finish that was marked by brake issues.

Pos. Driver Points
1 Kyle Larson 2106
2 x-Denny Hamlin 2072
3 Martin Truex Jr. 2062
4 Kurt Busch 2052
5 Ryan Blaney 2048
6 Joey Logano 2047
7 Kevin Harvick 2046
8 Brad Keselowski 2038
9 Christopher Bell 2031
10 Chase Elliott 2030
11 Aric Almirola 2029
12 Tyler Reddick 2026
13 Alex Bowman 2026
14 Kyle Busch 2024
15 William Byron 2017
16 Michael McDowell 2006

x-Clinched berth in Round of 12.

NASCAR results from Darlington

Four of the top five finishing positions in the Cook Out Southern 500 were claimed by playoff drivers: Denny Hamlin (first), Kyle Larson (second), Martin Truex Jr. (fourth) and Kevin Harvick (fifth). Ross Chastain broke up the group with a third-place finish.

The second race of the Round of 16 is the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11 (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, MRN. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Finish Driver
1 P-Denny Hamlin
2 P-Kyle Larson
3 Ross Chastain
4 P-Martin Truex Jr.
5 P-Kevin Harvick
6 P-Kurt Busch
7 P-Brad Keselowski
8 P-Joey Logano
9 Chris Buescher
10 Austin Dillon
11 Cole Custer
12 Ryan Preece
13 Daniel Suarez
14 Ryan Newman
15 Corey LaJoie
16 P-Aric Almirola
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
18 P-Tyler Reddick
19 Chase Briscoe
20 P-Christopher Bell
21 Bubba Wallace
22 P-Ryan Blaney
23 Matt DiBenedetto
24 Anthony Alfredo
25 Justin Haley
26 P-Alex Bowman
27 BJ McLeod
28 Josh Bilicki
29 Joey Gase
30 Quin Houff
31 P-Chase Elliott
32 Erik Jones
33 Cody Ware
34 P-William Byron
35 P-Kyle Busch
36 James Davison
37 P-Michael McDowell

P-Playoff driver.

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