Hamlin Surges in Lightning Delayed Homestead Race

 

Credit: Chris Graythen|Getty Images

 

 

It was a long day at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday as the Dixie Vodka 400 Cup Series race took right around seven hours to complete. When the checkered flag finally did fall, it was Denny Hamlin picking up his 40th career win and third on the season.

It’s Denny Time

Denny Hamlin has gotten off to a great start in 2020. The Daytona 500 speaks for itself, he may not have had the best car at the second Darlington race, but he found a way to win, and Sunday in Miami Hamlin absolutely dominated.

He led 127 of the race’s 267 laps, swept both stages, and held off a hard charging Chase Elliott in the final few laps to secure the victory. As I mentioned earlier, this was his 40th career win in the Cup Series, which ties him at 19th with Mark Martin on the all-time wins list. Being tied with Martin is very fitting for Hamlin at this point in his career. Both have accomplished so much in their respective 40 wins, but neither has ever hoisted the Cup Series championship trophy at season’s end. Martin’s legacy is already written as the best driver to never win a championship, Hamlin is arguably second on that list as it stands right now, but he still has time to change that. This is easily one of the best starts to  a season he’s ever had and he now leads in wins and Playoff Points. Could 2020 finally be his year?

Lightning Can Strike Twice

A brief rain shower passed over the speedway as the race was beginning, this wasn’t the reason the race was under the red flag for multiple hours though, it was lightning. Every professional sports league the competes outdoors has a lightning policy and NASCAR is no different. In the event of a lightning strike within an eight mile radius of the track, all activity must be halted for a minimum of 30 minutes. This happened several times on Sunday and eventually pushed what would’ve been a mid-afternoon event into a true night race. 2020 has already been chaotic enough, it would be nice if Mother Nature could cut NASCAR a break. Fingers crossed things are bright and sunny in Talladega.

Ripping the Fence

If you haven’t been paying attention to rookie Tyler Reddick, it’s time to open your eyes. The young Californian turned a lot of heads the past two seasons in the Xfinity Series with his exciting abilities behind the wheel. Those skills led him to claiming back-to-back series championships and generated lots of buzz as he made the lead to Cup in 2020. Many like myself though feared that RCR’s equipment would prevent him from shining bright. Wrong.

He’s put together several strong runs already this season, but Sunday’s was by far the best. Homestead is a track where running way up high next to the wall is an advantage over your competition. Reddick was very successful doing so in Xfinity and picked up right where he left off. Despite starting 24th, he quickly motored into the top 10 and spent almost the entire race in the top 5 before coming home fourth. Keep your eye on this kid, he may be in victory lane before you know it.

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