In the closing laps at Richmond Raceway on Easter night, it appeared a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota would be taking the victory.


In the end, that is what happened. But it was not the driver anybody expected.


With two laps to go, Martin Truex was out front with a comfortable lead, on track to take home a dominating win. Behind him, Bubba Wallace got into Kyle Larson’s left rear quarter panel while battling for fourth. Larson spun through the frontstretch grass, bringing out a caution before Truex could take the white flag.


The caution brought every lead lap car down pit road, where Denny Hamlin gained two positions to take the lead. Meanwhile, Truex dropped to second.


Hamlin controlled the field on the overtime restart, and cleared Truex coming to white flag. Hamlin brought it home from there, taking his fifth at his home track.


Joey Logano finished second, while Larson recovered to take third over Truex.


Hamlin credited his team for the victory.


“All pit crew. This is a team win for sure,” Hamlin said. “This trophy needs to go to each one of these pit crew member’s houses. They’ve been killing it all year.”


Truex, meanwhile, was frustrated after the win slipped away from his grasp. He expressed frustration with his teammate on the cooldown lap and after getting out of the car.


“He jumped the start and then just used me up in turn one,” Truex said. “Definitely sucks, but we had a good solid day. Another car capable of winning, we just have to come back next week and try and get him again.”


Replay showed Hamlin appeared to accelerate before making it to the restart zone. This allowed Hamlin to get a slight jump on Truex going into turn one. Regardless, NASCAR chose not to review the restart.


The NASCAR schedule stays in Virginia for the next race at Martinsville Speedway.



Tagline: “The Cooldown Lap,” written by Jon Wenger, takes you through the world of motorsports each week. Wenger discusses the recent events in various racing divisions.