NASCAR Does Something It Hasn't Done Since 1984

Hamlin won rain-shortened Wednesday race
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 21, 2020 4:29 AM CDT
NASCAR Holds First Wednesday Race Since 1984
The pit crew for Martin Truex Jr. (19) moves into position during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Darlington, SC.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Denny Hamlin won NASCAR's first Wednesday race since 1984 when rain stopped the event with 20 laps remaining at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The race marked the first time in NASCAR history that the Cup Series had two points-paying races at the same track in one week. The start of NASCAR's second race back during the coronavirus pandemic was moved up an hour because of poor weather, but that was then delayed nearly 90 minutes because it rained most of the day. When the action finally began, the 310-mile affair was spirited from start to finish because drivers were unsure if they were racing to the halfway point—the mark a race becomes official—or the distance.

Hamlin was out front but out of fresh tires and trying to hang on when he got unintended help from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch,the AP reports. The reigning Cup champion caused Chase Elliott to crash eight laps earlier to bring out the caution. A furious Elliott waited for Busch on the apron of the track and flipped Busch the middle finger as he passed. As NASCAR cleaned the track, it started to rain and the cars were called to pit road under red-flag. Busch copped to the error. "There's no question I made a mistake and just misjudged the gap," Busch said. Meanwhile, a fox was scampering across the deserted track and Hamlin, wearing a mask that depicted his actual smile, was having a muted celebration in the rain. (On Sunday, NASCAR racing returned without fans.)

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