What a race. Brandon Jones captured his third victory of the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season in Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway, as he stunned Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain on the final lap.
Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin dueled it out for more than 15 laps at the end of Saturday’s race. The epic battle saw one of the NASCAR Cup Series’ top talents, Hamlin, go toe-to-toe with a driver regarded as one of the greatest up and coming talents, Chastain. The two drivers made contact with each other and the wall so many times.
Heading to the white flag, Hamlin attempted a slide job to pass Chastain for the lead. Hamlin slapped the wall on corner exit. Chastain also got into the wall, but had more momentum going, which caused him to get into the back of Hamlin. The two lost momentum while slamming into each other. As they were busy crashing, Jones was busy winning.
“Just smart in the head today,” Jones said. “I think that’s what got them.You saw them really racing hard, and I knew I was catching them. We knew we was going to pull that big slider and that’s what you have to do sometimes to clear them . All-in-all, we had the Robert Huffman paint scheme. This is so big for Toyota. Myself, oh my gosh, this place is huge on so many levels on Southern 500 weekend. We will take it. Three wins this year. We will keep going. I think more to come.”
Jones, who was driving Robert Huffman’s old Goody’s Dash Series paint scheme from 2001, played it calm and cool. And it paid off.
Chastain held on to finish runner-up, which clinches him a berth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff field. Yet, it’s little consolation as Chastain is still on a quest for his first win of 2020.
“Denny was faster,” Chastain said. “I knew that. Everybody watching on NBC knew that. I just kept ripping the top as best as I could. i probably hit it 25 times, I was really struggling on entry. I just had a weird sensation of speed, like I was charging the corner and Denny would drive two car lengths deeper each time.”
Ryan Sieg finished third, Riley Herbst was fourth and Hamlin limped home to finish fifth.
Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson, Michael Annett, Austin Hill and Myatt Snider rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.
Post-Race Stat Pack:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.