WATCH: Denny Hamlin Literally Holds Up Kyle Larson on the Final Lap at Darlington

Published 09/07/2021, 12:42 AM EDT
Jul 18, 2021; Loudon, New Hampshire, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) spins out at turn two of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


At the Darlington Raceway, Denny Hamlin finally managed to score his first win of the season. Admittedly, this win came in a slightly controversial fashion as he literally blocked his opponent. On the final lap of the race, he had a reasonable gap, until he suddenly slowed and backed up into Kyle Larson.

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The tactics may have been dubious, but they were effective in preventing the Hendrick car from overtaking. It is also worth mentioning that Larson has also employed his own strange tactics to snatch the win. Apparently, he carried more speed than normal into the turn and deliberately hit the wall.

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The #5 driver then began riding the wall through Turns 3 and 4 to try to close in on Hamlin’s rear bumper. Some described it as a video-game style move, and it brought back some memories. To be precise, many were reminded of Carl Edwards’ attempt to defeat Jimmie Johnson in 2008 at the Kansas Speedway.

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How did the race play out for Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin?

Larson said, “Decided I would try to wall-ride and see what would happen. He (Hamlin) started running a little bit safer line the last few laps and getting back to diamonding (the corner). I thought if I rode the wall, I could squeeze to his outside and who knows what would have happened after that down the front stretch. I actually got to his bumper a little too early and he kind of protected the wall.”

Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) and driver Kyle Larson (5) lead the field for a restart during the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In the opening stage, Hamlin drew first blood, with Larson behind him in second place. When Stage 2 concluded, the #5 Hendrick Motorsports driver answered back with his own win, and Hamlin in fourth. Finally, it all came down to the wire in Stage 3, as both drivers resorted to the ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ tactic. In the end, it was Hamlin who emerged victorious to grab his first Cup win of the season.

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Dhruv George

11998 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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