Day 1 of the NASCAR doubleheader began today at Dover International Speedway for the Drydene 311. Last week’s winner Chase Elliott sat atop the pole position.
Shortly after 1:15 pm PST, the green flag waved with Denny Hamlin starting to the inside of Elliott. Chase Elliott was able to power ahead as Hamlin fell in line to second. The caution flag flew early as Kurt Busch spun down the backstretch and to the inside wall. Erik Jones and Alex Bowman also suffered damage as they collided in an attempt to avoid the accident. The race resume with Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin on the front row. As with before, Elliott easily kept the lead as Hamlin followed behind. Lap 25 brought out the competition caution with all drivers making their way down to the pits. Joey Logano exited the pits first as he and his team rolled the dice by taking only two tires.
The race resumed on Lap 32 with Austin Dillon leading Matt Kenseth. As the stage came to a close, Denny Hamlin was able to use his four fresh tires to get around Austin Dillon for the lead. Holding on, Hamlin was able to grab the green-and-white checkered flag with Dillon in second. All lead lap cars came down to the pits for service, with Hamlin holding onto the lead.
Using the choose rule, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer led the field back to green. Hamlin maintained the lead as Martin Truex Jr. took over the second position. Once the stage crossed the halfway point, Kevin Harvick came down to the pits to play pit strategy. Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, and all lead laps cars came down to complete gree flag pitstops. Once all drivers had completed green flag pitstops, Denny Hamlin regained the lead. He was able to keep the position and won the second stage. Martin Truex Jr. was able to beat Denny Hamlin off the pit road during the caution, assuming the lead.
Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch led the field back to green, starting the final stage. Truex Jr. kept the lead as Kyle Busch kept pace in second. With less than 60 laps left in the race, the leaders began their final, scheduled green-flag pit stops. Once all cars made their pit stops, Martin Truex Jr. cycled back to the lead. Truex Jr., impeded by lapped traffic, fell back to the clutches of Denny Hamlin. Hamlin was able to make the pass by Truex Jr. for the lead and took the checkered flag. Overall, the race was a typical Dover affair with a handful of drivers in the front all day and long green flag runs. What were your thoughts on today’s race?
Tomorrow brings part two of the Dover doubleheader. Can Denny Hamlin sweep the weekend?