Denny Hamlin wins Wednesday’s rain-shortened Cup race at Darlington

Denny Hamlin won Wednesday night’s Cup Series race at Darlington, which ended due to rain 20 laps from the race’s scheduled conclusion.

Hamlin claimed the victory in the series’ first Wednesday race since 1984. He beat Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones.

Hamlin took the lead for the first time when he and Matt DiBenedetto stayed out of the pits during a caution with 34 laps to go and kept the lead on the ensuing restart with 29 laps to go, as the caution came out for a wreck the next lap.

The rain began under the caution and after the field was brought to the pit road, the race was made official.

On the last restart, Hamlin kept the lead as Busch moved to second. The next time by, Chase Elliott surged into second as the field exited Turn 4. Right after the top three crossed the start-finish line, Busch made contact Elliott, who was sent sliding into the inside wall on the frontstretch.

After exiting his car, an angry Elliott displayed his middle finger at Busch as he drove by the incident scene.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Clint Bowyer

STAGE 2 WINNER: Clint Bowyer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Clint Bowyer led a race-high 71 laps and won both stages, but finished 22nd after he cut a tire and spun with 34 laps to go. Before tonight he had only led 17 laps in 15 career starts at Darlington.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After finishing ninth on Sunday, rookie John Hunter Nemechek wrecked twice in the first 12 laps and finished 35th … Ryan Preece, who started on the pole, finished last after his engine expired on Lap 70 … Chris Buescher finished 23rd after he spun from contact with Michael McDowell on Lap 72 … Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 25th after he spun to bring out the caution on Lap 83

WHAT’S NEXT: The Cup Series holds it third race in seven days with the Coca-Cola 600 at 6 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox.

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