Published on May 10th, 2010 | by Michael J Smith1
Hamlin Completes Darlington Weekend Sweep
Denny Hamlin became the first driver to sweep both races at Darlington Raceway in a weekend by following up his victory in the Royal Purple 200 with a win in the Southern 500 after mistakes took Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton out of contention.
Throughout the night, Hamlin had a strong car, but Gordon and Burton also appeared to have cars capable of winning. While attempting to make a late pit stop under green, Gordon slowed down to enter pit road, but aborted at the last second to avoid being hit by cars closing quickly behind him. When he hit pit road one lap later, David Reutimann spun, bringing out the final caution of the night. Gordon had to hurry out of pit road to avoid getting caught a lap down.
Burton came to pit road under caution with the leaders and came out the pits in third. But NASCAR black flagged him for running over his air hose as he left his pit stall. He lost a lot of track position. He never fully recovered, finishing eighth.
Top 5: Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Juan Montoya.
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Burton, Ryan Newman, and Brian Vickers finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
Notables: David Reutimann (11th), Brad Keselowski (12th), Matt Kenseth (13th), Carl Edwards (15th), Mark Martin (16th), Dale Earnhardt Jr (17th), Kasey Kahne (19th), Greg Biffle (22nd), Tony Stewart (23rd), Joey Logano (27th), and Jimmie Johnson (36th).
Jimmie Johnson had a difficult night. Early in the race, he hit the wall but was able to continue on. Later in the race, Greg Biffle spun in front of Martin Truex Jr, who spun to avoid hitting him. Johnson also spun to avoid hitting Biffle and Truex. He made contact with Truex.
Later in the race, Kevin Conway hit the wall, bringing out the caution. As the cars slowed, AJ Allmendinger went down to the apron to avoid hitting other cars when his brakes failed. He spun and slid up the track and made hard contact with Johnson who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He finished 36th.
Tony Stewart also led the race, but hit the wall on lap 196. A few laps later, he spun out but he didn’t hit anything. He finished 23rd.