Confidence and cockiness. Two things Denny Hamlin seems to have right now.
Hamlin essentially called his shot last week after the Chicagoland race when he said he would win the race next week at New Hampshire. Hamlin backed up his guarantee and crossed the finish line first at New Hampshire Sunday afternoon. Hamlin had come from the 32nd starting position but Hamlin took the lead before the 100 lap mark. Hamlin had to race his teammate Kyle Busch early but after Busch suffered engine problems, Hamlin was the lone Joe Gibbs Racing car in the front. Hamlin then had to race Jimmie Johnson later in the race but Hamlin was able to hold Johnson off as well.
Jeff Gordon started on the pole but he was passed on lap four by Tony Stewart. Stewart was leading all the way until the competition caution on lap 41. The leaders took advantage of the competition caution to hit pit road. Jeff Gordon came off pit road first followed by Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. On the restart Kyle Busch powered to the lead. Denny Hamlin completed his quest to the front of the field when he passed his teammate Kyle Busch on lap 94.
The first round of green flag pit stops began on lap 106. Denny Hamlin cycled through the stops as the leader. The second caution of the day came out on lap 128 for debris in turn three. Some drivers opted to come down pit road but some stayed out including Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer.
The halfway mark of the race came quickly and Denny Hamlin led the race followed by Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch began to experience engine issues on lap 165 when Busch reported he has a cylinder going down. Busch was running second at the time and he started to lose ground quickly. Busch had led 48 laps in the race already. Busch has had numerous engine problems throughout the season and that is the likely reason he didn’t make the Chase field. Busch remained in the race and he ended up finishing 28th.
The next yellow flag flew on lap 178 for debris in turn one. All cars visited pit road and Brian Vickers came off pit road first after taking two tires. Just one lap after the restart Denny Hamlin rocketed to the lead. The second and final round of green flag pit stops began on lap 242. After the stops were completed, Hamlin remained the leader. With just 27 laps to go the caution came out for debris. Hamlin was the leader on the restart followed by Johnson, Bowyer and Gordon. Johnson was no match for Hamlin on the restart and Hamlin cleared Johnson very quickly.
Hamlin then pulled out to a two second lead and never looked back. Hamlin dominated this race after he found his way up to the front and Hamlin crossed the finish line first. Hamlin then had one of the greatest burnouts of the season as he made his way to victory lane. Hamlin said in victory lane that it “Doesn’t hurt to have a little confidence.” Hamlin needed that confidence to have such a great run at New Hampshire. Hamlin’s victory was the 100th Sprint Cup Victory for Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR has had a very successful time in the Sprint Cup Series and expect them to have another hundred wins sometime soon.
Jimmie Johnson had a very good run at the Magic Mile today and he wound up second. Johnson has also taken over the points lead. Brad Keselowski has fallen back to second in the point’s standings, only one point behind Johnson. With Hamlin’s win he has moved up to the third position in the points, only seven points behind Johnson. Other notable Chase finishes in the race include Jeff Gordon in third, Clint Bowyer in fourth, Kasey Kahne in fifth, Keselowski sixth, Stewart seventh, Harvick eleventh, Earnhardt Jr thirteenth, Kenseth fourteenth, Truex Jr seventeenth and Biffle eighteenth.
The Chase still remains close and as we go to Dover next weekend, many drivers have a chance to pull away. The Monster Mile has been known to take Chase drivers out of championship contention and the Monster could do the same next weekend. Tune in next Sunday for the next round of the Chase at Dover.
Results via Nascar.com
|1||32||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Freight||48/5||300||Running|
|3||1||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger||42/1||300||Running|
|4||12||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||40/0||300||Running|
|5||6||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||40/1||300||Running|
|6||15||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||39/1||300||Running|
|7||3||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Mobil 1 / Office Depot||38/1||300||Running|
|8||18||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||36/0||300||Running|
|9||4||55||Brian Vickers||Toyota||Freightliner / Jet Edge||36/1||300||Running|
|10||8||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Aspen Dental||34/0||300||Running|
|12||7||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Sylvania / Menards||32/0||300||Running|
|13||14||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||AMP Energy / Diet Mtn. Dew / National Guard||31/0||300||Running|
|16||22||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||28/0||300||Running|
|17||9||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||27/0||300||Running|
|18||13||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M / GE Appliances||26/0||300||Running|
|20||17||47||Bobby Labonte||Toyota||Bush’s Baked Beans||24/0||300||Running|
|21||22||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||0||300||Running|
|23||19||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Trim Fit||21/0||298||Running|
|25||23||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction||19/0||298||Running|
|27||28||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||17/0||297||Running|
|29||26||34||David Ragan||Ford||Shriner’s Hospital for Children||15/0||296||Running|
|30||34||10||David Reutimann||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||14/0||295||Running|
|31||33||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||13/0||295||Running|
|32||37||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Taco Bell||12/0||295||Running|
|33||42||32||Mike Olsen||Ford||North Country Ford||11/0||288||Running|
|34||39||33||Stephen Leicht *||Chevrolet||Little Joes
|35||43||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Inception Motorsports||9/0||145||Transmission|
|37||31||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||7/0||97||Vibration|
|38||27||195||Scott Speed||Ford||Jordan Truck Sales||6/0||88||Susp.|
|39||36||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||0||78||Brakes|
|40||41||36||Tony Raines||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||4/0||68||Rear Gear|
|42||35||191||Reed Sorenson||Chevrolet||Plinker Tactical||0||21||Brakes|
|43||38||179||Kelly Bires||Ford||BBI / Bestway||0||20||Brakes|