Hamlin failed post-race NASCAR inspection at Darlington Raceway
On Saturday, Darlington Raceway welcomed the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The 1.366-mile oval is located in Darlington, South Carolina.
Denny Hamlin wrecked in Friday practice. That put him in a backup car. For qualifying, Hamlin coasted well off pace to save his tires as he knew he’d be starting at the rear regardless of qualifying efforts.
He started on the last row but was on the gas at the drop of the green flag. By the end of stage one, Hamlin nearly cracked the top 10. At the conclusion of stage two, Hamlin was up to 5th and set to do battle for the race win.
With 27 laps to go in the race, Hamlin was on the bumper of the race leader. He had been running a different line than anyone through turns three and four.
Hamlin entered turn three right against the wall. He remained high all the way through the corner as most of the field hugged the inside lane.
With the outside momentum, Hamlin had a run off turn four. He crossed under Ryan Blaney off turn four, drove it deep to the bottom in turn one and cleared him for the race lead.
Hamlin then held off a late race charge from Cole Custer. Knocking the wall down, Hamlin drove it to the race win.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Until he didn’t win at all.
After the race, NASCAR officials disallowed Hamlin’s win. Hamlin failed height requirements after the race.
Cole Custer originally finished 2nd. He was declared the official race winner of the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway.
Hamlin is far from the first to get docked for failing to meet ride height requirements in the 2019 season.
It’s worth noting that height requirements aren’t in the rule book for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. However, both the NASCAR Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series field must meet a minimum and maximum static ride height after the race.
In 2017, Denny Hamlin won both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events at Darlington Raceway. He picked up encumbered wins in both.
Cole Custer comments on winning Darlington Raceway
“It’s crazy. It’s a way to win it. It’s a “strange” way to win it,” Custer told NASCAR.com in the Xfinity Series garage after news of the disqualification.
“I wish I would’ve been able to pass him. Him being low isn’t why he won that race. At the same time, that’s the rules we live by and everybody has the same deal. Everybody’s been bit by it at some point, so it’s cool.”
“We get to have some more playoff points and this is the momentum that we needed,” Custer concluded.
Denny Hamlin started at the tail. He drove it to the front and took the win. Due to the disqualifcation, NASCAR has sent him back to the tail. Hamlin is credited with a 38th place finish.
Hamlin had an average finish of 2.7 at Darlington Raceway ahead of this event. The win would have brought that average to 2.5.