Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick make gains to their wins total in the doubleheader Drydene 311 this weekend at Dover International Speedway.
The NASCAR Cup Series have their last doubleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway this weekend. Before the weekend, there are three races left in the regular season, with two races at Dover, and the last race of the season at Daytona International Speedway next weekend. For drivers on the cusp of the playoff bubble, many look to Dover as the place to secure their spot. However, after Dover, the playoff competition is tighter than anyone expected.
The First Stage – Drydene 311 (1)
Chase Elliott is on the pole for Saturday’s race and stays on point through the competition caution when everyone comes down pit road for service.
Austin Dillon wins the race off pit road after a two-tire stop. He holds the lead heading into the latter portion of the stage.
Denny Hamlin is able to catch Dillon on lap 59 and make the pass for the lead. Hamlin goes on to win the first stage.
The Second Stage – Drydene 311 (1)
Denny Hamlin leads the field to the green flag for the second stage. The entire segment of the race runs caution-free. The field is cycling down pit road for green-flag stops, and eventually, Denny Hamlin goes as well. Hamlin cycles back into the lead with 26 laps remaining in the stage. At this point, Hamlin has a comfortable lead over the field and goes on to claim another win for the second stage.
The Third Stage – Drydene (1)
Martin Truex Jr. leads the field to the green flag after winning the race off pit road during the stage break. Truex Jr. is taking control of the last segment of the race. He leads for 61 laps until he comes down pit road for service. With everyone pitting under green, Truex Jr. is able to cycle back into the lead with 31 laps remaining.
However, Denny Hamlin is gaining on Truex Jr as lapped traffic holds Truex back. Hamlin shoots by him with seven laps remaining. The pass is all Hamlin needs, and he goes on to win the first Drydene 311. The victory is Hamlin’s sixth of the season.
The First Stage – Drydene (2)
To set the field for the second race, the top-20 drivers from the first race are inverted. The flip puts Matt DiBenedetto on the pole to bring the field to the green flag. Through a few early cautions, he is able to stay in the lead.
The Second Stage – Drydene 311 (2)
Kevin Harvick jumps back out front for the second stage and quickly gains a sizeable lead over the field. After a small incident involving Corey Lajoie, the entire field comes to pit road.
The Third Stage – Drydene (2)
Kevin Harvick holds the lead heading into the last stage of the race. After a few early cautions, the final stage settles down and the field has its longest green-flag run of the day.
With Harvick still at the helm, he continues to increase his lead on the field. Harvick has the win in his hands, but a caution comes out after another spin from Corey Lajoie. Everyone comes down pit road with 20 laps remaining.
Jimmie Johnson wins the race off pit road after a two-tire stop. He is the only racer to stop for two tires.
After a strong battle, Harvick, with fresher tires, is too much for Johnson. Harvick retakes the lead. and with no other contenders, he cruises to victory in Sunday’s Drydene 311 for his seventh win of the season.
The 2020 Season Draws to a Close
The anticipation for next Saturday’s race at Daytona International Speedway is one for the history books. For the first time, a playoff cutoff race is at Daytona. There is a tight battle for the last remaining spots for the playoff.
Two teammates have just four points between being in or out of the playoff season. Hendrick Motorsports drivers, William Byron, and Jimmie Johnson have their work cut out for them coming into next Saturday night. Not only to race into the playoff competition but as everyone knows, anything can happen on the superspeedway of Daytona.
A single wreck can wipe out a good part of the field. Or someone from below the cutline like Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, or even Christopher Bell, can win the race to earn their ticket into the playoff. A win from anyone below the cutline and in the top-20, will surely throw a wrench into the plans of those right on the cusp.
It all goes down next Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.