If you only tune into the Sprint Cup Series every weekend, these recent winners for the Xfinity Series have been rather familiar.
If you’re Denny Hamlin, your neck is feeling better after leading 248 of 250 laps in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
“It’s unbelievable,” Hamlin told FOX Sports 1 in victory lane. “This is a big weekend but one thing we all have to think about is Steve Byrnes’ family. He is a big part of our sport and we are definitely thinking of him.”
The dominating victory stands as a significant mark for Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing.
“(This is the) 100th Xfinity win for Toyota, that is a big one,” said Hamlin who starts second for JGR in Saturday’s Sprint Cup race. “I was able to get the 100th Sprint Cup win for those guys at Loudon a few years ago at JGR.”
Joey Logano, who led flag-to-flag at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend, was on the other side of the coin this weekend, finishing second, 3.7 seconds behind Hamlin’s race-winning Toyota.
“I now know what it feels like to be on the other end after last weekend,” Logano said. “I thought he was very fast in practice and it apparently transferred over to the race.”
Logano spent a majority of the race battling 18-year-old Erik Jones for second as Hamlin drove away.
“As soon as (the restart) went, I could hang (with Hamlin) for maybe five or six laps, barely hanging, and then off he’d go,” Logano continued. “Then after that you could tell he was just saving his tires. His car was so fast he didn’t have to drive hard.”
“We just couldn’t turn the center like we needed to late in the run,” said Elliott who lacked the speed to battle beyond fifth. “That was all I had, I was giving her all I had there the whole night.”
For Cassill, it was his first top 10 of 2015 for JD Motorsports.
The moment of the night, unfortunately, came during a lap 113 pit stop for Brendan Gaughan’s No. 62 team. Following a fuel spill, a massive fire was ignited, sending three crew members from Richard Childress Racing and TriStar Motorsports to the infield care center and local hospital.
Kevin Harvick looked to continue his 29-race streak of top 10s in the Xfinity Series but struggled to an 18th-place finish.
The points leader exiting the Virginia short track is Ty Dillon, who leads by eight points over Elliott. Chris Buescher finished 20th, losing his tie for the points lead and falling to third in the championship standings.
Next week, the Xfinity Series hangs up the short-track helmets and picks up their restrictor plates to head to Talladega Superspeedway.
About the author
Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.