LOOK: Denny Hamlin puts on ‘happy face’ mask after winning NASCAR Cup Series Toyota 500 Darlington

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The second NASCAR Cup Series race after the coronavirus hiatus ultimately had an anticlimactic ending. Denny Hamlin took what amounted to the checkered flag after the race was called due to rain with 20 laps to go.

Afterward, Hamlin met with reporters to talk about his rain-shortened victory — because a win is a win, after all — and wanted to express his emotions while also complying with CDC guidelines about limiting the spread of COVID-19. His solution was to quite literally wear his emotions on his face, with a personalized face mask that featured, well, his face.

All jokes aside, Hamlin did actually find the victory quite satisfying given that this racetrack is a favorite of his. He calls Darlington a “driver’s racetrack” because of all the ways a driver can get creative on a path to victory as he did today.

The most dramatic part of Wednesday’s race happened with less than 30 laps remaining. Kyle Busch, who was in second, tried to make a move past Hamlin on the inside but was unable to complete the pass. Then Chase Elliott tried to pass Busch on the outside while Kevin Harvick was closing down the space. Busch tried to cut off his opponent but ended up clipping Elliott instead, causing him to spin out. It was that wreck that helped free up Hamlin for the win.

The race ended with a top five of Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones, in that order.

The next race in the NASCAR Cup Series’ revised 2020 schedule is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’ll take place on Sunday, May 24.





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