Erik Jones wins his 2nd career race at Darlington, #43 car wins 200 career race (9-4-22)
By: Becca Cottingham Quimby
Headline Photo Credit: NASCAR Twitter page
We head to Darlington Speedway also known as The Lady in Black. Joey Logano and Christopher Bell will lead us to the green flag of the first play off race. Daniel Suarez will come through for his pass through penalty for inspection issues. Both Joey Logano and Christopher Bell will battle for who will lead this race. We see a quick shower on the track and NASCAR calls a caution to keep drivers from wrecking. They also keep the cars on the track to keep the heat in the track. We will get back to racing and again see a great battle with Joey Logano and Christopher Bell. Drivers attempt to go three wide but Darlington is not a track you can go three wide at without issues. They do figure out and get back two wide without issues. We will see a competition caution due to the rain around one pm this afternoon. This will give everyone a chance to get fuel and make chances to the car as needed. Tires are huge topic of conversation as they only have twelve sets and will probably need all twelve sets to get through the race. Even with the competition caution they will still need to come down for another pit stop. Joey Logano at the restart of after the competition looks like he may have used up a large portion of his tires. While William Bryon moves up through the track traffic to catch Joey Logano. William Byron will pass Joey Logano for the lead. Joey Logano will have a bad green flag pit stop and this will secure William Byron the lead. Now William Byron will have to see if he can hold on to that lead for the rest of the stage. Kyle Larson will radio in that he is having issues with his car again and it is making a similar sound as Daytona. They will look at it and send him back out. He will be three laps down and trying to communicate with the team. Everything looks like it is going to end smooth but something happens to Chase Elliott and he collects Chase Briscoe. Right at the end of stage causing the stage to end under caution with William Byron winning his first stage since the Spring.
Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin will lead us back to green for stage two. They will battle it out to see who will lead and Kyle Busch will win this battle. Chase Elliott will be out on the damage vehicle clock even with the additional time. Green flag pit stops will happen at least and drivers will need to be cautious on no penalties. After the first set of green flag pit stops William Byron radios in that he is hearing something strange in his car. They are already aware of issues with Kyle Larson. Then Ross Chastain came over the radio to his crew to say he was having an issue with the car feeling squishy. They will bring him down twice before they figure out what is wrong and corrected the issue. Todd Gilliland will bring out a caution as he will spin out almost exactly like Chase Elliott. Everyone does get around him just barely as other drivers slowed down significantly and almost were rear-ended. This will put everyone within the fuel window. We get back to racing and Kyle Larson will do almost the exact same thing as Todd Gilliland. This will bring out another caution. Corey LaJoie will stay out and battle with Kyle Busch for the lead. Kyle Busch will get by Corey LaJoie for the lead. Cody Ware will go around and bring out another caution for stage two. This will lead to a shoot out for the end of the stage two. Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch will battle. Then Joey Logano will make contact with multiple drivers making his moves to get up front. Kyle Busch will get around Martin Truex Jr to lead and will win stage two.
Kyle Busch leads us back to green for the final stage. We see a lot of contact at the beginning of this stage. Joey Logano takes the spot he wants from Martin Truex Jr.. Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell battle hard for positions. We are in the middle of pit cycles when Kevin Harvick catches fire. We will see everyone down pit road for tires. Along with an extremely frustrated Kevin Harvick after he confirm that the engine did not fail to cause the fire. Drivers will still need to come down pit road at least one more time for either green flag stops or under caution depending on how the race plays out. We do see green flag pit stops and Denny Hamlin team kept him out longer than anyone else. Denny Hamlin question why as Martin Truex Jr passes him to get him lead back. Then we get not just one but two plot twist. Martin Truex Jr. has an engine issue with water temperatures,losing power steering, and power. Then Cody Ware slaps the wall again hard which will bring out the caution. Kyle Busch’s car blows up during the caution. Bring the total of 9 playoff cars having issues before the end of the race. Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, and Tyler Reddick will line up for the final laps. This will lead to some extremely intense last few laps. Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones will go into very heated battles for who will win this race. Denny Hamlin will close up while Erik Jones will get a better take off on the corners spreading out the lead. It will come down to the very last lap to learn who will win this race. Erik Jones will just edge out Denny Hamlin for the unofficial win.