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Hamlin Back To Winning Form In Kansas

Denny Hamlin celebrates after earning his fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Thursday at Kansas Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Denny Hamlin celebrates after earning his fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Thursday at Kansas Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – After a couple frustrating races in a row, Denny Hamlin got back on the horse Thursday night at Kansas Speedway with a victory in the Super Start Batteries 400.

Hamlin’s series-best fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the year followed finishes of 28th, 12th and 20th in the previous three weeks. Those results had Hamlin hungry for a return to form, which is exactly what happened on Thursday night.

“We’ve had a rough three weeks, but we were leading at Indy when we blew a tire,” Hamlin said in reference to his crash in the closing stages of the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway early this month. “I tell you, this team is really hitting on all four cylinders right now.”

Hamlin ran at or near the front of the field for most of the race, but things really began to take shape following the final round of pit stops. The final pit stop came shortly after a lap 235 caution period for an incident involving Corey LaJoie.

William Byron, who was the race leader at the time after taking no tires during the previous round of stops, took two tires to retain the race lead. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman followed suit with a two-tire stop, with Hamlin coming off pit road next with four tires.

The race resumed with 28 laps left and Byron and Bowman waged a battle for the race lead for more than a lap before Bowman was able to pull clear one lap after the restart. After another lap the caution flag waved for the final time when John Hunter Nemechek spun down the backstretch.

At that point Hamlin was running fifth behind Bowman, Byron, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski. When the race resumed Harvick pushed Bowman into the lead on the bottom, but he used the momentum out of turn two to jump to the outside of Bowman and drive past him into the race lead.

Behind the lead duo Hamlin had gone from fifth to third on the restart. He quickly dispatched Bowman and set his sights on Harvick. With 15 laps left Hamlin had begun to run down Harvick by running the top in the corners while Harvick stayed glued to the bottom.

Running the top proved to be the winning strategy as Hamlin quickly ran down Harvick, blowing by him down the backstretch with 13 laps left. Harvick quickly slipped to fourth as Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. each dispatched him, with Keselowski slowly closing on Hamlin over the final laps.

Keselowski tried to get close enough to challenge Hamlin for the lead, but Hamlin held serve and got to the finish line first to score his 42nd career victory.

“When we restarted fifth right there (during the last restart) with 20 something to go I really didn’t like our chances that much. I was just trying to execute every restart perfectly,” Hamlin said. “We were able to battle it out. This is a well executed race. We won today with probably not the best car.”

Keselowski said he feels like the Joe Gibbs Racing squad has found something in their cars recently, something he thinks may have played an important role in allowing Hamlin to return to victory lane Thursday evening.

“All in all a good night,” Keselowski said. “Good speed, not as good as the Gibbs cars. They were super, super strong. We’ve got a little bit of work to do. They’ve brought something new the last few weeks. They’ve really shown a lot of strength in the drivetrain. So we’ve got to do a little bit of work to keep up with that. Other than that we were right there.”

Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Truex finished third, with Harvick hanging on to finish fourth. Erik Jones completed the top-five to give Joe Gibbs Racing three cars in the top-five.

The race featured 11 caution periods, including two for big crashes down the backstretch shortly after restarts. The worst of those incidents saw Ryan Newman hook Christopher Bell into the outside wall, which sent Ryan Preece’s Chevrolet careening at speed into the inside wall.

The impact sent Preece’s car into the air and it nearly flipped before coming back down on all four wheels. Preece emerged from his heavily damaged race car frustrated, but unhurt.

For complete results, advance to the next page.

Denny Hamlin celebrates with a burnout after winning Thursday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Denny Hamlin celebrates with a burnout after winning Thursday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

Results from the NASCAR Cup Series Super Start Batteries 400, held July 23, 2020 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

Fin Str Vehicle Driver Team Laps Stage1Pos Stage2Pos Stage3Pos Pts Status Tms LapsLed PlayoffPts IsPostEntry Stage1Pts Stage2Pts OwnerPts OwnerStage1Pts OwnerStage2Pts PtsEligible  
1 10 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 267 2 4 0 56 Running 4 57 5 False 9 7 56 9 7 True
2 7 2 Brad Keselowski Wabash Ford 267 5 1 0 51 Running 4 30 1 False 6 10 51 6 10 True
3 5 19 Martin Truex Jr. Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota 267 3 8 0 45 Running 5 44 0 False 8 3 45 8 3 True
4 1 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Light Apple Ford 267 7 6 0 42 Running 1 9 0 False 4 5 42 4 5 True
5 21 20 Erik Jones Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota 267 10 7 0 37 Running 0 0 0 False 1 4 37 1 4 True
6 3 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Hometown Original Ford 267 8 3 0 42 Running 0 0 0 False 3 8 42 3 8 True
7 24 41 Cole Custer # HaasTooling.com Ford 267 0 0 0 30 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 30 0 0 True
8 6 88 Alex Bowman ChevyGoods.com/Adam’s Polishes Chevrolet 267 9 0 0 31 Running 1 6 0 False 2 0 31 2 0 True
9 9 1 Kurt Busch Monster Energy Chevrolet 267 0 0 0 28 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 28 0 0 True
10 15 24 William Byron Axalta Chevrolet 267 0 0 0 27 Running 3 27 0 False 0 0 27 0 0 True
11 8 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Fudge Brownie Toyota 267 1 5 0 42 Running 1 52 1 False 10 6 42 10 6 True
12 11 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 267 0 10 0 26 Running 0 0 0 False 0 1 26 0 1 True
13 23 8 Tyler Reddick # I Am Second Chevrolet 267 6 0 0 29 Running 0 0 0 False 5 0 29 5 0 True
14 19 14 Clint Bowyer One Cure Ford 267 0 0 0 23 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 23 0 0 True
15 36 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 267 0 0 0 22 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 22 0 0 True
16 27 34 Michael McDowell Dockside Logistics Ford 267 0 0 0 21 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 21 0 0 True
17 14 42 Matt Kenseth McDelivery Chevrolet 267 0 0 0 20 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 20 0 0 True
18 37 96 * Daniel Suarez Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota 267 0 0 0 19 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 19 0 0 True
19 30 38 John Hunter Nemechek # Digital Ally Ford 266 0 0 0 18 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 18 0 0 True
20 4 12 Ryan Blaney DEX Imaging Ford 266 4 2 0 33 Running 2 15 0 False 7 9 33 7 9 True
21 31 32 Corey LaJoie Plan B Sales Ford 266 0 0 0 16 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 16 0 0 True
22 28 27 JJ Yeley(i) Ford 265 0 0 0 0 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 15 0 0 False
23 22 95 Christopher Bell # Rheem Toyota 264 0 0 0 14 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 14 0 0 True
24 32 00 Quin Houff # Creek Enterprises Inc. Chevrolet 260 0 0 0 13 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 13 0 0 True
25 33 53 Josh Bilicki(i) RBR Aviation Chevrolet 260 0 0 0 0 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 12 0 0 False
26 26 77 Garrett Smithley(i) Formula One Imports Chevrolet 260 0 0 0 0 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 11 0 0 False
27 16 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 251 0 0 0 10 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 10 0 0 True
28 18 6 Ryan Newman Wyndham Rewards Ford 251 0 0 0 9 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 9 0 0 True
29 34 51 Joey Gase(i) Page Construction Ford 251 0 0 0 0 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 8 0 0 False
30 29 15 Brennan Poole # Spartan Mosquito Chevrolet 219 0 0 0 7 Running 0 0 0 False 0 0 7 0 0 True
31 39 7 * Reed Sorenson TBR Chevrolet 216 0 0 0 6 Electrical 0 0 0 False 0 0 6 0 0 True
32 20 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 200 0 9 0 7 DVP 0 0 0 False 0 2 7 0 2 True
33 13 17 Chris Buescher Fifth Third Bank Ford 182 0 0 0 4 Accident 0 0 0 False 0 0 4 0 0 True
34 35 37 Ryan Preece Bush’s Beans Chevrolet 181 0 0 0 3 Accident 0 0 0 False 0 0 3 0 0 True
35 2 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 176 0 0 0 2 Accident 1 27 0 False 0 0 2 0 0 True
36 12 21 Matt DiBenedetto Menards/Dutch Boy Ford 175 0 0 0 1 Accident 0 0 0 False 0 0 1 0 0 True
37 17 43 Bubba Wallace Victory Junction Chevrolet 170 0 0 0 1 Accident 0 0 0 False 0 0 1 0 0 True
38 38 66 * Timmy Hill(i) RoofClaim.com Toyota 116 0 0 0 0 Electrical 0 0 0 False 0 0 1 0 0 False
39 40 78 * BJ McLeod(i) Axele.com Chevrolet 66 0 0 0 0 Rear Gear 0 0 0 False 0 0 1 0 0 False
40 25 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger Chevrolet 58 0 0 0 1 Electrical 0 0 0 False 0 0 1 0 0 True




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