Hamlin claims a wild, caution-filled Coca-Cola 600 victory at Charlotte

In one of stock car’s longest events on Memorial Day weekend spanning more than five hours and mired with a bevy of cautions and on-track carnages, Denny Hamlin survived two overtime attempts to storm to the lead and fend off teammate Kyle Busch to win the Coca-Cola 600 victory of this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 29.

The 41-year-old Hamlin from Chesterfield, Virginia, led four times for 15 of 413 over-scheduled laps and was able to assume the lead during the first of two overtime attempts just as a multi-car wreck ensued behind him on the frontstretch. Then during the second overtime attempt, he came out on top over a late battle with teammate Kyle Busch, including overtaking and clearing his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate on the final lap, before having enough horsepower to cross the finish line in first place and claim his first 600 triumph.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Denny Hamlin notched his first pole position of the season after clocking in a pole-winning lap at 183.680 mph in 29.399 seconds. Joining him on the front was Kurt Busch, who clocked in a qualifying lap at 183.661 mph in 29.402 seconds.

Prior to the event, Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola, Cole Custer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kaz Grala dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to their respective cars. In addition, Corey LaJoie started at the rear of the field in a backup car.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Hamlin launched ahead with the lead on the outside lane through Turn 1 before Kurt Busch drew himself in a side-by-side battle against his owner. As the field returned to the start/finish line, Hamlin managed to lead the first lap by a hair before Kurt Busch issued another early challenge for the lead. 

During the following lap, Kurt Busch managed to edge Hamlin to lead the following lap before Hamlin returned the favor during the following lap. Then by the fourth lap, Hamlin managed to pull his No. 11 FedEx Toyota TRD Camry ahead of Busch’s No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota TRD Camry to clear the field for the lead while Kyle Busch was in third. Behind, Bubba Wallace muscled his way into third place ahead of William Byron, Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick.

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Kyle Busch, who overtook teammate Hamlin for the lead during the previous lap, was leading followed by Bubba Wallace, Reddick and Byron while Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, Bell, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman. Rookie Austin Cindric was back in 11th ahead of Chase Elliott, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon, Ross Chastain, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Erik Jones while Kyle Larson was up in 21st ahead of Justin Haley, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Chris Buescher and rookie Harrison Burton.

Seven laps later, the first caution of the event flew when Ryan Preece spun entering Turn 4 on the outside lane. Just behind, Buescher and Noah Gragson spun separately to avoid Preece with Buescher making contact with Preece. By then, Kyle Busch was leading by more than a second over Bubbaa Wallace followed by Reddick and Byron while Hamlin and Kurt Busch slipped back to fifth and eighth, respectively. In addition, Kyle Larson was up to 18th.

Under caution, the leaders led by Kyle Busch pitted for the first time Kyle Busch, Byron, Reddick, Hamlin, Suarez and Wallace. Following the pit stops, Martin Truex Jr. was penalized for speeding on pit road. In addition, rookie Todd Gilliland was penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 22, Kyle Busch rocketed his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota TRD Camry away with the lead while Reddick and Byron battled for the runner-up spot. Not long after, Wallace made his way into third place over Reddick and Hamlin while Larson was trying to work his way into the top 15.

By Lap 30, Kyle Busch was leading by half a second over Wallace followed by Byron, Reddick and Hamlin while Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Bell, Kurt Busch and Bowman were in the top 10.

Two laps later, the caution returned when Josh Bilicki spun in Turn 3. Under caution, some led by Byron pitted while the rest led by Kyle Busch remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Larson was penalized for removing equipment out of his pit box.

When the race proceeded under green on Lap 38, Kyle Busch and Wallace battled for the lead as the field fanned out through the backstretch with fourth-place Briscoe briefly losing momentum in the top five.

Two laps later, Wallace led a lap for himself before Kyle Busch cleared Wallace’s No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota TRD Camry to assume full control of the field.

Another three laps later, Suarez, who overtook Wallace a few laps ago for the runner-up spot and was gaining ground on Kyle Busch, made a move beneath Busch as he issued his challenge for the lead from the fronstretch to Turn 1. Then as Suarez just emerged ahead while pinning Kyle Busch towards the Turn 1 outside wall, Busch slipped sideways and spun through Turn 2 without sustaining any damage as the caution flew.

Under caution, some who did not pit under the previous caution like Wallace and Kyle Busch pitted while the rest led by Suarez remained on the track.

As the race proceeded under green on Lap 50, Suarez launched ahead on the outside lane to retain the lead while Hamlin battled Bowman for the runner-up spot in front of Byron, Elliott and Reddick. 

By Lap 60, Suarez was leading by more than two seconds over Bowman followed by Elliott, Byron and Hamlin while Cindric, Reddick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney and Truex were in the top 10. Meanwhile, Larson was in 12th behind Joey Logano while Ross Chastain, Bell and Buescher were in the top 15.

A lap later, the caution returned when Corey LaJoie got loose, spun and backed his car against the outside wall through Turns 1 and 2, a wreck that was reminiscent of Saturday’s practice session and was enough to eliminate him from the event. During the caution period, the leaders led by Suarez pitted and Elliott exited with the top spot followed by Byron, Bowman, Suarez and Reddick. Following the pit stops, Larson, who got into the wall during the previous restart, was penalized for a second time due to an equipment interference along with Justin Haley. In addition, Cindric made another pit stop to ensure that the wheels on his car were tightened.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 67, teammates Elliott and Byron dueled for the lead for half a lap until Elliott managed to pull his No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ahead of Byron’s No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 while Suarez was in third place in his No. 99 CommScope Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Behind, Bowman was in fourth while Reddick overtook Hamlin for a spot in the top five.

Through the first 75 scheduled laps, Elliott was leading by a tenth of a second over Byron followed by Reddick, Bowman and Suarez while Chastain, Bell, Hamlin, Blaney and Wallace were in the top 10. Kurt Busch was mired in 11th ahead of Logano, Stenhouse, Austin Dillon, Truex, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Chris Buescher, Chase Briscoe and Gilliland while Larson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were mired outside of the top 25.

Fifteen laps later, Elliott continued to lead by six-tenths of a second over Reddick while Byron, Bell and Chastain were in the top five as Bowman fell back to sixth. Behind, Wallace worked his way back to seventh followed by Blaney, Truex and Stenhouse.

On Lap 93, Byron got loose entering the backstretch and fell off the pace due to a flat tire, but he continued to run on the track as the race remained under green.

When the first stage concluded on Lap 100, Elliott captured his third stage victory of the season over Reddick, who settled in second followed by Bell, Chastain, Wallace, Blaney, Stenhouse, Truex, Bowman and Hamlin. By then, Byron was in 11th and Kyle Busch was in 17th while Larson and Suarez were mired back in 28th and 29th.

Under the stage break, the leaders led by Elliott pitted and Elliott retained the lead after exiting with the lead followed by Bell, Wallace, Chastain, Truex and Blaney. Following the pit stops, Kevin Harvick pitted again to address a steering issue.

The second stage started on Lap 107 as Elliott and Bell occupied the front row. At the start, Elliott received a draft from Chastain to retain the lead while Chastain and Bell duked for the runner-up spot. With Chastain making his way into the runner-up spot over Bell, Wallace and Blaney battled in the top five while Truex was in sixth.

On Lap 110, Chastain muscled his No. 1 Advent Health Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 into the lead following a brief battle with Elliott while Bell, Wallace and Blaney remained in the top five. Behind, Hamlin was in seventh followed by Byron and Stenhouse, Kyle Busch was in 11th ahead of Reddick, Logano was in 17th behind teammate Cindric and Larson was back in 20th in between Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola and Briscoe.

By Lap 125, Chastain was leading by half a second over Elliott followed by Bell, Wallace and Blaney while Truex, Byron, Hamlin, Reddick and Stenhouse were in the top 10. 

Just then, the caution flew when Wallace spun through the Turn 4 infield and he was quick to nurse his car to his pit stall with the right-front tire flat. During the caution period, the leaders returned to pit road as Elliott retained the top spot after exiting in first.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 131, Elliott and Chastain dueled for the lead until Elliott retained the lead as the field behind scrambled for positions.

On Lap 145, the caution returned when Cindric blew a left-rear tire and backed his No. 2 Menards Ford Mustang hard into the Turn 3 outside wall. During the caution period, nearly the entire field led by Elliott returned to pit road and Elliott exited with the top spot followed by Chastain, Kurt Busch, Truex, Reddick and Erik Jones while Blaney and Larson remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Bell was penalized due to a crew member jumping over the wall too soon while Stenhouse and Gilliland were penalized for speeding on pit road.

On Lap 151, the race proceeded under green as Blaney and Larson occupied the front row. At the start, Blaney held a brief advantage through the first two turns until Elliott muscled his way back into the lead through Turns 3 and 4. With Elliott checking out, Chastain moved back into the runner-up spot followed by Blaney, Kurt Busch and Reddick while Larson fell back to sixth.

By Lap 160, Elliott was leading by seven-tenths of a second over Chastain while Kurt Busch, Blaney, Reddick, Briscoe, Logano, Suarez, Hamlin and Larson were in the top 10. By then, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Byron, Erik Jones and Michael McDowell were in the top 15 while Bowman was in 16th. By then, Brad Keselowski was in the top 20 while Wallace was in 22nd behind Austin Dillon.

Then on Lap 165, the caution flew when Larson got loose and spun his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through the Turn 4 infield as he was dodged by Harvick. Under caution, some led by Blaney pitted while the rest led by Elliott remained on the track.

When the race proceeded under green on Lap 170, Chastain used the inside lane to his advantage as he cleared Elliott to lead while Kurt Busch, Reddick, Briscoe and Suarez battled towards the front. Soon after, Trackhouse Racing’s Chastain and Suarez battled for the lead with the former retaining the top spot. 

At the Lap 175 mark, Chastain was leading by nearly three-tenths of a second over teammate Suarez while Elliott, Briscoe and Kurt Busch were in the top five. Reddick was in sixth ahead of Logano, Byron and Hamlin while Buescher and Truex challenged spots in the top 10.

Eleven laps later, the caution flew when Elliott got loose and briefly touched the outside wall between Turns 1 and 2 before he spun through the Turn 4 infield. Under caution, some led by Kurt Busch while the rest led by Chastain remained on the track.

With nine laps remaining in the second stage, the race restarted under green and Chastain took off with the lead ahead of Suarez and Briscoe. Shortly after, however, the caution returned when Blaney hit the apron, got loose and spun as he ignited a multi-car wreck that collected Kurt Busch, Keselowski, McDowell, Byron, Harvick, Hamlin, Gragson, Truex, Harrison Burton, Gilliland and Wallace.

Following an extensive cleanup, the race restarted under green with four laps remaining in the second stage. At the front, teammates Chastain and Suarez battled for the lead until Suarez managed to pull ahead through Turns 3 and 4. Behind, Erik Jones was in third place followed by Briscoe and Stenhouse.

When the second stage concluded on Lap 200, Suarez managed to fend off teammate Chastain and Erik Jones to captured his second stage victory of the season. Chastain held off Erik Jones to settle in second followed by Briscoe, Stenhouse, Logano, Harvick, Reddick, Truex and Bell.

During the stage break, the race was placed on a brief hiatus and the NASCAR community paused for a moment of silence to pay tribute in remembrance of the fallen servicemen and women on Memorial Day weekend. When the field returned to pit road for service, Suarez retained the lead after exiting with the top spot followed by Chastain, Briscoe, Erik Jones, Reddick and Harvick. Back on the track, however, names like Logano, Kyle Busch, Truex, Hamlin and Bell chose to restart at the front without pitting.

The third stage started on Lap 208 as Logano and Truex, both of whom did not pit, occupied the front row. At the start, Logano rocketed his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang clear of the field with the lead while teammates Kyle Busch and Truex battled for the runner-up spot ahead of Hamlin and Chastain while Bell slipped to sixth.

Six laps later, Suarez reassumed the lead over Logano as he brought teammate Chastain with him. Behind, Briscoe overtook Truex for fifth while Kyle Busch was in fourth.

Then on Lap 220, the caution flew when Harvick, who was just overtaken by Stenhouse for 11th place, got loose and scraped the outside wall through Turns 1 and 2, an incident that prompted Harvick to express his displeasure to Stenhouse under caution. Soon after, some led by Suarez returned to pit road for service while the rest led by Chastain remained on the track.

Another four laps later, the race proceeded under green. At the start, Chastain retained the lead ahead of Logano while Briscoe, Kyle Busch and Bell occupied the top five.

By Lap 235, Chastain extended his advantage to nearly two seconds over Logano while Briscoe, Suarez and Kyle Busch were in the top five. Bell was in sixth ahead of Stenhouse, Hamlin, Reddick and Noah Gragson while Larson was in 11th ahead of Harvick, Truex, Buescher, McDowell and Erik Jones.

At the Lap 250 mark, Chastain continued to lead by more than half a second over teammate Suarez while Briscoe, Logano, Bell, Kyle Busch Stenhouse, Hamlin, Reddick and Harvick were in the top 10. Meanwhile, Larson and Truex remained in the top 15 while Erik Jones, Austin Dillon and Almirola were running in the top 20.

Two laps later, Suarez overtook teammate Chastain to return to the lead. Not long after, however, the caution flew when Gragson spun his No. 16 Charlotte Knights Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through the Turn 4 infield. Under caution, the leaders led by Suarez pitted and Chastain reassumed the lead upon exiting pit road ahead of Briscoe, Reddick, Buescher, Hamlin, Stenhouse and the field. Following the pit stops, Kyle Busch was penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation.

When the race resumed under green on Lap 258, Chastain cleared the field entering the first turn to lead ahead of Briscoe and Reddick. Two laps later, however, Briscoe hustled his No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang to the lead from Turns 3 and 4, but Chastain returned the favor and cleared Briscoe for the lead during the following lap. While Chastain, Briscoe and Reddick battled for the lead, Larson rallied his way up to fifth behind Buescher.

By Lap 275, Chastain continued to lead by more than a second over Briscoe and Larson while Reddick and Hamlin were in the top five. Suarez was in sixth followed by Buescher, Logano, Cole Custer and Stenhouse. Prior to this, Bell made a pit stop under green after suffering a flat tire and falling off the pace.

With 10 laps remaining in the third stage, Chastain remained as the leader by a healthy margin over Briscoe while Kyle Busch pitted under green due to an issue to the right rear of Busch’s car.

When the third stage concluded on Lap 300, Chastain captured his fourth stage victory of the season. Briscoe settled in second, trailing by more than two seconds, while Larson, Reddick, Suarez, Logano, Custer, Buescher, Austin Dillon and Hamlin were scored in the top 10.

Under the stage break, the leaders pitted and Reddick exited with the top spot followed by Chastain, Larson, Briscoe, Custer and Buescher.

With 93 laps remaining, the final stage commenced. At the start, Reddick took off with the lead on the inside lane in front of Chastain while Custer and Larson battled for third place. 

With 77 laps remaining, the battle for the lead ignited as Chastain dueled and overtook Reddick for the lead through the fronstretch.

Nearing the final 60 laps of the event, the caution flew due to debris in Turn 1 when Reddick cut a left-tire tire as he limped his No. 8 Cheddar’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 back to pit road. At the moment of caution, Chastain was leading by more than two seconds over Larson while Suarez, Briscoe and Custer were in the top five. 

Under caution, the leaders led by Chastain pitted as Chastain retained the lead followed by Larson, Briscoe, Custer, Austin Dillon and Bell.

Down to the final 55 laps of the event, the race restarted under green as Chastain and Larson occupied the front row. At the start, Chastain managed to pull away from Larson and the field to retain the lead.

Then as the field made its way to the frontstretch, the caution flew for a major wreck when Suarez, who made the slightest of contact in front of Briscoe, got loose and slipped sideways in front of the field. As the field scattered, he was hit by Todd Gilliland and Buescher, who looped around the frontstretch grass before his No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang went airborne and barrel rolled multiple times before coming to rest on his roof. Despite the incident, all competitors, including Buescher, emerged uninjured.

Following a red flag period of 11 minutes, the race restarted under green with 48 laps remaining. At the start, Chastain took the lead before Larson muscled his way to the front two laps later. Another lap later, Briscoe made his way into the runner-up spot as he went to work to pursue Larson for the lead.

With 40 laps remaining, Larson was leading by nearly eight-tenths of a second over Briscoe while Chastain, Logano and Hamlin occupied the top five. 

Ten laps later, Larson extended his advantage to more than a second over Briscoe while Chastain, Hamlin and Custer were in the top five. Behind, Logano fell back to sixth ahead of Kyle Busch, Bell, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon.

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, Larson continued to lead while runner-up Briscoe only trailed by six-tenths of a second. Chastain, Hamlin and Custer remained in the top five ahead of Logano, Bell, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon while Truex, Harvick, Almirola, Stenhouse, McDowell, Ty Dillon and Harrison Burton were scored on the lead lap.

Five laps later, Briscoe cut the deficit down to two-tenths of a second over Larson with the latter still leading while the former kept the leader within his sight.

Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Larson retained the lead by three-tenths of a second over Briscoe while third-place Chastain trailed by more than two seconds. Behind, Hamlin and Custer remained in the top five.

With five laps remaining, the battle for the lead ignited as Briscoe closed in and challenged Larson for the top spot. As both went dead even when the field returned to the frontstretch, Briscoe tried to squeeze himself ahead, but Larson retained the lead on the outside lane. 

Then with two laps remaining, the caution flew when Briscoe, who made another move beneath Larson in another bid for the lead, got loose and spun from the outside wall to below the apron in Turn 1 as he punctured his tires. Briscoe’s incident was enough for the event to be sent into overtime as Chastain, Hamlin, Custer and Logano moved into the top five.

Under caution, the leaders led by Larson pitted as Larson, Chastain, Logano and Stenhouse opted for a two-tire pit stop while the rest took four tires.

At the start of the first overtime attempt, Larson and Chastain dueled dead even for the lead entering the first turn until Larson cleared the field entering the backstretch. As the field fanned out and scrambled for positions, Austin Dillon suddenly bolted his way towards the front and was able to draw himself even with Larson in a bid for the lead through Turn 3. 

Then entering the frontstretch, Chastain and Hamlin drew Larson and Austin Dillon into a four-wide battle for the lead until Dillon made contact with Larson and spun in the middle of the field as he made contact with the wall. In the process, Larson, Logano and Chastain clipped one another and were sent spinning and sliding sideways along with Custer, Truex and Stenhouse while Hamlin escaped with the lead followed by Chastain, Kyle Busch, Harvick, Stenhouse and McDowell. With the wreck occurring just before the final lap could initiate, the field was sent into another overtime attempt.

At the start of the second overtime attempt, Hamlin rocketed with the lead on the inside lane and was quickly pressured by teammate Kyle Busch for the lead while Chastain was losing ground and speed due to suffering front-nose damage from the previous incident.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, teammates Kyle Busch and Hamlin dueled for the lead dead even until Hamlin managed to pull ahead through Turns 1 and 2. Though Kyle Busch kept Hamlin close to his front bumper, he could not execute a final lap pass for the win as Hamlin claimed the checkered flag by 0.119 seconds to win for the first time at Charlotte and in the Coca-Cola 600 in his illustrious Cup career.

In addition, Hamlin notched his second victory of the season since winning at Richmond Raceway in early April, thus becoming the third multi-winner of this year’s Cup season, and his 48th career win in the NASCAR Cup Series, which placed him in a tie with the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Herb Thomas for 16th place on the all-time wins list in the sport’s premier series. Since winning at Richmond in April, Hamlin had finished no higher than fourth during the following seven events prior to the 600. Mired during the seven-race span were four results outside of the top 20.

“It’s so special,” Hamlin, who became the newest winner of the 600 since Kyle Larson won it a year ago, said on FOX. “It’s the last big one that’s not on my resume. It meant so much. Man, [I] Can’t thank this whole FedEx team enough. I’ve been a Coke Family driver for 18 years and never have won the Coke 600 before, so this means a lot. Man, we weren’t very good all day and just got ourselves in the right place at the right time. What a battle there.” 

Teammate Kyle Busch rallied from his early spin and late pit road penalty to finish in the runner-up spot while Harvick, who endured steering issues and a handful of on-track incidents, came home in third place. 

“We didn’t have a good enough day to even be in that position,” Busch said. “Just a strong fight all night long by this M&M’s team and give honor to those that we remember here on Memorial Day weekend. Appreciate the opportunity of being able to do that. We had [U.S. Army] St. [William R.] Theim on [the car] this weekend. [I] Tried to come out with Victory Lane and honor them, but unfortunately, one spot short.”

“That was not pretty,” Harvick said. “I think we went to the back eight times tonight, so everybody on our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang did a good job battling. We didn’t necessarily do a good job with everything else, but in the end, came home with a third-place finish. I knew this race was just gonna be a battle of attrition and forever. Almost six hours. ”

Following his late spin, Briscoe made a late charge to finish fourth, five spots ahead of Larson as Larson rallied from his wreck during the first overtime attempt for a top-10 result while Bell rallied from a late unscheduled pit stop to finish fifth.

“I was driving 110 percent,” Briscoe said. “I should’ve been only running 90 to 100. I just overstepped. It’s a crown jewel race and it was dangling right there in front of me. I tried too hard. Plain and simple. I was able to drive it in so much farther than Kyle [Larson] almost every time into [Turn] 1. I felt like I went to the same mark I had been. As soon as I went in there, I just got super loose…I saw a Coke 600 win right there in front of me, went for it and obviously, overstepped. To have speed like that’s really good. Wished we could’ve gotten the Mahindra Tractors Ford in Victory Lane, but we were fast and I guess that’s all that matters.”

“Long race, thankfully,” Larson said. “The first half was a struggle for all of us, but I was especially frustrated with myself. To rebound from that and have a shot to win there late was something to be proud of. Our team fought really hard, so happy with that. Briscoe’s really good that long run there. [I] Wished we would’ve been just a little bit better so he never would’ve gotten to me to work really hard and ultimately, spin. You’re kind of gambling on tire stuff there. We took two [tires] to try and get ourselves the front row, which we did. I think the four tires were just a little bit better than me and [Austin Dillon] got to my inside there through [Turns] 3 and 4. It was just really tight racing off of [Turn] 4…Again, proud of my Hendrick team. The day would’ve been a lot easier if I just didn’t hit the wall yesterday [during practice].”

“The only reason we got up there is ‘cause everyone crashed at the end of the race and gave us an opportunity,” Bell said. “This Yahoo Camry, just every bit is capable of the guys that beat us. Disappointing day, for sure, because I feel like we had something to contend for the win, but a top five’s nothing to hang our head about.”

Reddick, Stenhouse, McDowell, Larson and Bowman finished in the top 10. Harrison Burton was the highest-finishing rookie candidate in 11th place, thus notching his second top-15 result in the Cup circuit, while Chastain, who restarted on the front row during the second overtime attempt, fell back to 15th with a damaged front nose from his car.

There were 31 lead changes for 13 different leaders. The race featured 18 cautions for 90 laps. This marked the longest-held event in NASCAR history at 413 laps (619.5 miles), which occurred in five hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds.

With 12 races remaining in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series regular-season stretch, Chase Elliott continues to lead the regular-season standings by 34 over Ross Chastain, 37 over Kyle Busch, 53 over Ryan Blaney and 59 over Martin Truex Jr.

Denny Hamlin, Ross Chastain, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, Chase Briscoe, rookie Austin Cindric and Kurt Busch are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular-season stretch. Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick occupy the remaining spots in the Playoffs as winless competitors while Aric Almirola trails the top-16 cutline by eight points, Austin Dillon trails by 23, Erik Jones trails by 29, Daniel Suarez trails by 49, Chris Buescher trails by 75, Michael McDowell trails by 76, Bubba Wallace trails by 78, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. trails by 83 and Justin Haley trails by 95.

Results.

1. Denny Hamlin, 15 laps led

2. Kyle Busch, 36 laps led

3. Kevin Harvick

4. Chase Briscoe, two laps led

5. Christopher Bell

6. Tyler Reddick, 19 laps led

7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

8. Michael McDowell

9. Kyle Larson, 51 laps led

10. Alex Bowman

11. Harrison Burton

12. Martin Truex Jr.

13. Ty Dillon 

14. Erik Jones

15. Ross Chastain, 153 laps led, Stage 3 winner

16. Todd Gilliland

17. Aric Almirola, one lap down

18. Cody Ware, one lap down

19. BJ McLeod, six laps down

20. Joey Logano – OUT, Accident, nine laps led

21. Cole Custer – OUT, Accident

22. Austin Dillon – OUT, Accident

23. Kaz Grala, 13 laps down

24. Noah Gragson – OUT, Throttle

25. Daniel Suarez – OUT, Accident, 36 laps led, Stage 2 winner

26. Chris Buescher – OUT, Accident

27. Justin Haley – OUT, Engine

28. Bubba Wallace – OUT, Dvp, one lap led

29. Ryan Blaney – OUT, Accident, two laps led

30. Brad Keselowski – OUT, Accident

31. Kurt Busch – OUT, Accident, two laps led

32. William Byron – OUT, Accident, one lap led

33. Chase Elliott – OUT, Dvp, 86 laps led, Stage 1 winner

34. Austin Cindric – OUT, Accident

35. Corey LaJoie – OUT, Accident

36. Josh Bilicki – OUT, Accident

37. Ryan Preece – OUT, Dvp

Next on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the series’ inaugural event at the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Illinois. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, June 5, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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