NASCAR Cup in Richmond: A first victory this season for Denny Hamlin (+ video)

Sunday April 3, 2022 by Julie Bouchard

Denny Hamlin won this Sunday the 7th round of the 2022 season of the NASCAR Cup series, held on the oval of Richmond in Virginia. The Joe Gibbs Racing No.11 Toyota driver took the lead with five laps to go and held on to pressure from Kevin Harvick (Ford/Stewart-Haas Racing) to take his first win of the season.

In this 400-lap race, which was rather disappointing on the show side and whose last 70 laps took place without neutralization, William Byron (Chevrolet / Hendrick Motorsports) led for a long time (122 laps in total, including 71 of the last 76!) but did so that he made his last pit stop a few laps before his direct rivals for victory forced him to drop the pace at the end of the race, being passed by Hamlin and Harvick. He finished third in this Toyota Owners 400.

The win is Hamlin’s fourth at the 0.75 mile track in his home state of Virginia and his 47th overall of his NASCAR Cup Series career.

Kevin Harvick finished second at 0.552 seconds. Behind Byron, 3rd, we find Martin Truex Jr (Toyota / Joe Gibbs Racing) and 2021 champion Kyle Larson (Chevrolet / Hendrick Motorsports). Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon rounded out the Top 10.

Ryan Blaney (Ford/Team Penske) led the field for the first 129 laps, having taken pole position. That 129-lap lead streak was the longest race and included winning Stage 1 at Lap 70. It was the third time this season that Blaney has won a stage victory. As for stage 2, it was Truex Jr who won it, on lap 230, to also register his third stage victory this year.

There was only one yellow flag on the first two stages, on lap 9 when the No.45 23XI Racing Toyota of Kurt Busch came to a stop on the start/finish straight, following a breakage mechanical. Busch was ranked 35th among the 37 starters in that race.

The NASCAR Cup series remains in Virginia this week, while next Saturday will take place the 8th race of the season, on the oval of Martinsville (departure around 8 p.m.).

For the complete classification of this Sunday’s event in Richmond, click here. For the best moments in pictures, click on the video below.

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