In a race that featured 21 lead changes and 10 different leaders, Denny Hamlin topped the rest of the field to take the checkered flag in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Hamlin led 76 of 206 laps en route to victory and held off second-place finisher Austin Dillon. Here is a look at the top 10 finishers from Saturday's race, with the full results available at NASCAR.com:
|NASCAR Xfinity Series Hisense 4K TV 300 Results|
Sprint Cup regulars largely dominated the event, but there was a significant change in the Xfinity Series standings, as Daniel Suarez surpassed Elliott Sadler for the top spot, with Suarez finishing 12th and Sadler being forced to settle for a 28th-place finish after a crash.
Along with Suarez's ascent to the top, here's a look at where the championship race stands following the Hisense 300:
|NASCAR Xfinity Series Standings After Charlotte|
|9||Darrell Wallace Jr.||283||-93||0|
Several drivers looked to be in firm control at various junctures of the race, and it started with Erik Jones, who won the pole and led the first 13 laps of the event.
Jones was overtaken by Hamlin following an early caution, however, and then fell out of contention when he, Sadler and Suarez were involved in a wreck on the 24th lap, as Fox Sports: NASCAR showed:
The 19-year-old phenom likely would have been in contention if not for the accident, but he ended up with a 31st-place finish instead.
A lengthy caution followed the three-car mishap, but the yellow flag came out again shortly thereafter when Martin Roy and Garrett Smithley collided, via Fox Sports: NASCAR:
The lead continued to cycle around until another caution flag waved on Lap 62, when Ryan Reed spun out, via Fox Sports 1:
That allowed Hamlin to seize control for the third time, and he went on to lead for 37 laps, which was the longest uninterrupted run up front in the race.
Even when others had the lead, Kyle Larson seemed to be within striking distance at all times, which Mark Garrow of Performance Racing Network pointed out has been common in recent weeks across all NASCAR series:
For much of the final 80 laps, Larson and Joey Logano jockeyed for position and exchanged the lead on a few occasions.
After a 27-lap run up front, Logano was surpassed by Larson on Lap 148 by virtue of this great move near the bottom of the track, courtesy of NASCAR Xfinity:
Logano continued to battle, however, and regained the lead with 35 laps remaining, as Fox Sports: NASCAR showed:
He remained in first for 29 laps and seemed poised to win his first Xfinity Series race of the season, but Larson passed him again on Lap 195, which led to the most aggressive racing of the day from both drivers, via Fox Sports: NASCAR:
As if Larson and Logano hadn't created enough drama on their own, Jones added more when he hit the wall with two laps remaining.
The ensuing caution led to many different strategies among the teams running up front, with Logano and Larson opting against pitting, while others behind them took tires, per Xfinity Racing:
The four-tire strategy ultimately proved to be the best one, however, as Hamlin used his fresh set to move from sixth to first after the restart.
Hamlin managed to pass Logano on the final lap, and while Larson seemingly had a chance to take advantage, his car began to smoke, forcing him to fall back to sixth place, as NASCAR Xfinity showed:
Although the second half of the race was all about Logano and Larson trading the lead, Hamlin led more laps than anyone else and was a deserving winner in the end.
Logano and Larson were sitting ducks once they decided to stay out since there was plenty of incentive for those behind them to get fresh tires.
The decision to stay out cost them, but it made for a highly entertaining finish to a race that was chaotic and unpredictable throughout.
Hamlin's victory marked the first of his NASCAR career at Charlotte in any of the top three series, and while it didn't count for Xfinity Series points, it could bode well for his chances on the Sprint Cup circuit.
The veteran driver was dominant at times during Saturday's race, and if he can take what he learned and apply it to the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, he'll have a strong chance to end his Charlotte drought in NASCAR's top series as well.
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