The NASCAR Cup Series begins the 2021 playoffs with the Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway as they cap off a doubleheader day and a triple header weekend.

After winning his third race of the season at Daytona to end the regular season, Ryan Blaney sits on the pole and will bring the field to green with Denny Hamlin starting alongside on the front row.

Driving the number three Richard Childress Racing car, Austin Dillon will have to start the race from the back of the field after his car failed the pre-race inpsection process multiple times.

The starting lineup for the Cook Out Southern 500:
Ryan Blaney
Denny Hamlin
Kurt Busch
Chase Elliott
Alex Bowman
Kyle Larson
Tyler Reddick
Aric Almirola
Kevin Harvick
Martin Truex Jr
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch
Christopher Bell

William Byron
Michael McDowell
Brad Keselowski
Bubba Wallace
Ryan Preece
Ryan Newman
Justin Haley
Austin Dillon – moved to the back of the field
Erik Jones
Ross Chastain
Chase Briscoe
Corey LaJoie
Daniel Suarez
BJ McLeod
Josh Bilicki
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Matt DiBenedetto
Cole Custer
Anthony Alfredo
Cody Ware
Chris Buescher
Joey Gase
James Davison
Quin Houff

Stages one and two of the race are 115 laps each with stage three lasting 137 laps for a total of 367 laps around the mile and a third track.

The drivers can run 60 to 65 laps on a single load of fuel. The teams have 12 sets of tires for this race.


Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and jumps out in front for the lead with Kurt Busch on his bumper.

Lap two, Ryan Blaney leads the race with Kurt Busch in second; Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Lap four, Austin Dillon has moved up to 30th after starting in last place due to inspection issues.

NASCAR has called for a competition caution for around lap 25.

Lap six, Ryan Blaney has a lead of half a second on Kurt Busch.

Alex Bowman reports some possible electrical issues when he fired up the engine. He addes that he cannot shut the engine off during cautions.

Lap eight, Ryan Blaney holds his half second lead on Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Alex Bowman round out the top five. These are the first laps Blaney has ever led at Darlington.

Lap 12, Chase Elliott passes Denny Hamlin for third. Kurt Busch has cut the lead to leader Ryan Blaney to under half a second.

Lap 12, Alex Bowman scrapes the wall after a flat tire. William Byron makes contact with Bowman when he can’t get slowed down and brings out the caution flag.

Kurt Busch passes Ryan Blaney for the lead.

Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 20 from the inside lane and gets out in front for the lead with Ryan Blaney in second.

The top five are Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, and Chase Elliott.

Lap 23, Austin Dillon is now in 20th place.

Lap 24, Kurt Busch has a lead of over half a second on Ryan Blaney; Kevin Harvick, Tyler Reddick, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 26, Kevin Harvick passes Ryan Blaney for second.

At the end of lap 26, NASCAR displays the yellow flag for the competition caution.

Michael McDowell took four tires during the first caution and advanced 14 spots in six laps.

NBC Sports crews report that Goodyear brought 2,000 tires for today’s race!

Drivers come down pot road for fresh tires. Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road with Kurt Busch coming out second.

Chase Elliott had to make a second trip down pit road after making contact with a tire from the 53 team.

After staying out on the track Erik Jones brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 30. Kevin Harvick quickly passes Jones to take the lead.

Michael McDowell slams the wall hard after getting loose and brings out the caution flag on lap 32. McDowell barely misses Joey Logano as he moves across the track.

Kevin Harvick leads the race with Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Preece, and Martin Truex Jr rounding out the top five.

Michael McDowell is the first driver out of the race.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 36 and jumps out in front for the lead with Kurt Busch in second; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Lap 37, Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Lap 42, Kevin Harvick holds on to a lead of over half a second on Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Lap 45, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead to over a second on Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

James Davison and Cody Ware get into a wreck and bring out the caution flag on lap 48. Cody Ware has a flat tire and is dropping debris all over the track. Davison got loose and Cody Ware blew a trie trying to avoid James Davison.

Drivers come down pit road for fresh tires and service. Denny Hamlin wins the race off of pit road with Kevin Harvick coming out second.

Alex Bowman’s car broke out in flames during the pit stop. The fire is out and Bowman is moving again. Everyone in the pits is fine.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 54 from the inside lane. Hamlin gets out in front for the lead with Kevin Harvick in second; Ryan Blaney,, Kurt Busch, and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

The sun is beginning to set and is causing some major glare issues for the drivers as the track begins to transition.

Lap 58, Denny Hamlin has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Ryan Blaney; Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 59, James Davison and Michael McDowell are out of the race with the remainder of the cars all on the lead lap.

Lap 61, Denny Hamlin has a one second lead on Ryan Blaney; Kurt Busch, Kyle Larsoon, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 65, Denny Hamlin has increased his lead to over a second on Ryan Blaney; Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 67, Ryan Blaney has closed the gap on leader Denny Hamlin to under a second.

Lap 76, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Ryan Blaney in second; Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Tyler Reddick is reporting a vibration in the car.

Lap 81, drivers begin to make pit stops for fresh tires and fuel. Leader Denny Hamlin comes down pit road and gives the lead over to Ryan Blaney.

Lap 83, leader Ryan Blaney makes his pit stop and gives the lead over to Alex Bowman as green flag pit stops continue.

Lap 84, Alex Bowman makes his pit stop and gives the lead back to Denny Hamlin.

Lap 85, the top five are Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.

BJ McLeod and Josh Bilicki have yet to make their pit stop.

There are 30 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 91, Denny Hamlin has a lead of over three seconds on Kyle Larson.

Lap 98, Denny Hamlin has a lead of over four seconds on Kyle Larson; Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five with 27 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 100, Denny Hamlin has a lead of over three seconds on Kyle Larson; Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 104, Kyle Larson is slowly eating into Denny Hamlin’s lead; Hamlin is just over three seconds ahead.

Kyle Busch reports that they are “not waking the car up in the right way”.

With nine laps remaining in stage one, there are 25 cars on the lead lap.

Two laps remain in stage one, Denny Hamlin has a lead of nearly two and a half seconds on Kyle Larson with 23 cars on the lead lap.

Denny Hamlin wins his first stage since April.

The top 10 at the of stage one:
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Larson
Kurt Busch
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick
Martin Truex Jr
Tyler Reddick
Aric Almirola
Ross Chastain
Joey Logano

Drivers come down pit road for fresh tires and service with Denny Hamlin winning the race off of pit road and Kyle Larson coming out second.

For stage two of the race, the “legends” take over the broadcast booth with Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett, and Dale Earnhardt Jr taking over.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 123 from the inside lane. Hamlin goes side by side with Kyle Larson before Larson gets out in front for the lead.

The top five are Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.

The caution flag comes out on lap 126 when Austin Dillon makes contact with Kyle Busch and sends the M&M’s car into the wall. Busch takes his car to the garage. Kyle Busch is out of the race.

Christopher Bell has gotten into the wall and is on pit road getting repairs.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 130 and gets out in front for the lead with Kurt Busch in second.

Tyler Reddick gets loose but saves the car and the track stays green.

Lap 132, the top five are Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Blaney.

Ryan Blaney passes Martin Truex Jr for fourth.

Lap 135, Kyle Larson has a lead of over half a second on Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Ross Chastain round out the top five with 24 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 141, Kyle Larson has increased his lead to over a second on Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Ross Chastain round out the top five.

Out of the infield care center, Kyle Busch said that it wasn’t the number three car’s fault; adding that their car was garbage.

Lap 145, Kyle Larson has increased his lead to two seconds on Kurt Busch.

Lap 152, Kyle Larson continues to increase his lead and is now over three seconds in front of Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Ross Chastain, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Lap 155, Daniel Suarez is the first driver to make a green flag pit stop.

Lap 158, Kyle Larson has a near six second lead on Kurt Busch.

Chase Elliott missed pit road while trying to make his pit stop. Kevin Harvick reports that he is very tight. Joey Logano also reports a very tight condition.

Leader Kyle Larson makes his pit stop and gives the lead over to Christopher Bell.

Martin Truex Jr reports a “major loose wheel” and will have to make another trip down pit road.

The caution flag comes out on lap 163 for debris on the track.

Drivers that were a lap down due to pit stops can take the wave around, but Martin Truex Jr will have to come down pit road and cannot take the wave around.

Leader Christopher Bell ran over the debris and will have to come down pit road. He had yet to make his green flag pit stop.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart from the inside lane on lap 169. Kyle Larson jumps out in front for the lead with Kurt Busch in second; Denny Hamlin, Ross Chastain, and Christopher Bell round out the top five. Christopher Bell passes Ross Chastain for fourth.

Lap 171, there are 23 crs on the lead lap with three drivers out of the race – two of them playoff drivers.

Lap 173, Kyle Larson has pulled out to a near one second lead on Kurt Busch; Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 175, Kyle Larson continues to increase his lead and is now over a second in front of Kurt Busch.

Lap 180, Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain make contact but the track stays green.

Lap 181, Denny Hamlin battles with Kurt Busch for second. Hamlin passes Busch to take second.

Lap 183, Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 190, Kyle Larson has a near two second lead on Denny Hamlin; Kurt Busch, Christopher Bell, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 193, Kyle Larson continues to increase his lead and is now nearly two and a half seconds on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 196, Ross Chastain leads a host of driver including Chase Elliott and William Byron coming down pit road for service.

Lap 198, leader Kyle Larson makes his green flag pit stop and gives the lead over to Christopher Bell.

Lap 199, leader Christopher Bell makes his pit stop and give the lead back to Kyle Larson.

William Byron hits the wall and brings out the eighth caution flag of the race on lap 200. Byron hit the wall hard with the right front quarter of the car after a flat tire.. He becomes the fourth driver out of the race and the third playoff driver to wreck out of the race.

William Byron reports that he is fine.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 206 and gets out in front for the lead.

Lap 207, the top five are Kyle Larson, Kenny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, and Ross Chastain.

Lap 210, Kyle Larson has a near second and a half lead on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 212, there are 22 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 214, fully under the lights, Kyle Larson has a lead of over two seconds on Denny Hamlin; Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, and Ross Chastain round out the top five.

Lap 220 – 10 laps to go in stage two – rim riding, Kyle Larson has a three and a half second lead on Denny Hamlin with Christopher Bell in third; Kevin Harvick and Ross Chastain round out the top five with 22 cars on the lead lap.

Aric Almirola is falling through the field; reporting numerous issues.

Martin Truex Jr and Matt DiBenedetto battle for the “lucky dog” position.

Matt DiBenedetto has a tire rub and has some smoke coming in the cockpit.

Three laps remain in stage two, Kyle Larson has a near five second lead on Christopher Bell with Denny Hamlin in third; Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Kyle Larson wins stage two for his 13th stage win of the season..

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Larson
Christopher Bell
Ross Chastain
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Kurt Busch
Joey Logano
Chase Elliott
Ryan Blaney
Corey LaJoie

Drivers come down pit road for service with Kyle Larson winning the race off of pit road.

Rick Allen and Jeff Burton return to the broadcast boot the finish the race.

Ryan Blaney is charged with having an uncontrolled tire on pit road and will have to restart the race from the back of the field.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 237 and jumps out in front for the lead.

Lap 239, the top five are Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, and Christopher Bell.

Lap 243, Kyle Larson begins to pull away from the field and has a lead of over a second on Denny Hamlin; Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, and Christopher Bell round out the top five. There are 23 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 247, Kyle Larson is running some of the fastest laps in the race.

Martin Truex Jr was the “lucky dog” and is back on the lead lap in 17th place.

Christopher Bell reports that the vibration has returned; adding that his car is very loose.

Lap 251, Kyle Larson leads the race by nearly two seconds; Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Lap 253, Christopher Bell has to make an unscheduled trip down pit road for a loose wheel.

Lap 259, Kyle Larson has a near two second lead on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 263, Aric Almirola gets into the wall but saves it and the track stays green.

Lap 265, Kyle Larson has increased his lead to over two seconds on Denny Hamlin.

Aric Almirola is concerned that he may have a tire rub after hitting the wall.

Leader Kyle Larson brushed the wall; his crew chief tells him to not worry about it. Larson had a lead of nearly two and a half seconds.

Lap 270, Kurt Busch begins the cycle of green flag pit stops.

Leader Kyle Larson comes down pit road and gives the lead over to Denny Hamlin.

Lap 273, Ryan Blaney reports some brake fade as he makes his pit stop.

Lap 279, leader Denny Hamlin makes his green flag pit stop and gives the lead over to Martin Truex Jr who quickly comes down pit road.

Lap 282, Kyle Larson retakes the lead and has a lead of over seven seconds on Ross Chastain. There are 17 cars on the lead lap.

Erik Jones is out of the race.

Lap 287, Martin Truex Jr unlaps himself and is back on the lead lap.

Lap 288, Kyle Larson has a lead of over five seconds on Ross Chastain.

Kevin Harvick has to make an unscheduled trip down pit road with a loose tire.

Lap 290, Ross Chastain continues to close the gap on leader Kyle Larson; Larson is now less than four and a half seconds in front of Chastain.

Lap 299, Ross Chastain makes his pit stop.

Lap 300, more drivers come down pit road for fresh tires including leader Kyle Larson. Denny Hamlin is the new leader.

Lap 304, Ross Chastain bets Kyle Larson off of pit road after making their fastest pit stop of the season.

Lap 305, Denny Hamlin leads the race. It has yet to make his pit stop.

Sixty laps remain in the race, and there are only five drivers on the lead lap.

Lap 312, Denny Hamlin has an eleven second lead on Martin Truex Jr but both drivers have yet to make their pit stops. Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Ryan Blaney spins out with a flat tire on lap 319 and brings out the caution flag. Blaney reports that he doesn’t have any brakes.

Drivers come down pit road for fresh tires. Martin Truex Jr won the race off of pit road.

Martin Truex Jr was caught speeding on pit road and will have to restart the race from the back of the field.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart from the inside lane on lap 325. Denny Hamlin gets out in front with Kyle Larson in second.

Drivers get spread out across the field as Chris Buescher has an issue.

Chase Elliott brings out the caution flag when he gets into the wall on lap 328 with a flat tire.

Kyle Larson is the only Hendricks Motorsports car who has not had a major issue tonight.

Some drivers come down pit road for service.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart with Kyle Larson alongside with 36 laps remaining in the race. Denny Hamlin gets out in front but Kyle Larson is making a run on Hamlin for the lead.

The top five are Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick. There are only 15 cars on the lead lap.

With 33 laps to go, Kyle Larson is only two tenth of a second behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Thrity to go, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Kyle Larson in second; Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

With 26 laps to go, Denny Hamlin is slowly pulling away from Kyle Larson; Hamlin is now half a second in front of Larson.

Twenty-three to go, Martin Truex Jr passes Kevin Harvick for fifth. He has been running the fastest laps on the track.

Eighteen to go, Denny Hamlin has just a tenth of a second lead on Kyle Larson; Ross Chastain, Martin Truex Jr, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Fifteen to go, denny Hamlin has a third of a second lead on Kyle Larson. Ross Chastain battle Kyle Larson for second.

Ten to go, Denny Hamlin has a half second lead on Kyle Larson; Ross Chastain, Martin Truex Jr, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Seven to go, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Kyle Larson in second. Hamlin ran the Xfinity race on Saturday.

Six to go, Ross Chastain has fallen to over a second back in third place.

Four to go, Denny Hamlin holds on to the lead with Kyle Larson continuing to try and run Hamlin down for the lead.

Denny Hamlin takes the white flag.

In the first race of the playoff rounds, Denny Hamlin finally gets his first win of the 2021 season. Kyle Larson was on Hamlin’s bumper when they crossed the finish line.

The unofficial results of the Cook Out Southern 500:
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Larson
Ross Chastain
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Kurt Busch
Brad Keselowski
Joey Logano
Chris Buescher
Austin Dillon
Cole Custer
Ryan Preece
Daniel Suarez
Ryan Newman
Corey LaJoie
Aric Almirola
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Tyler Reddick
Chase Briscoe
Christopher Bell
Bubba Wallace
Ryan Blaney
Mat DiBenedetto
Anthony Alfredo
Justin Haley
Alex Bowman
BJ McLeod
Josh Bilicki
Joey Gase
Quin Houff
Chase Elliott
Erik Jones
Cody Ware
William Byron
Kyle Busch
James Davison
Michael McDowell