Denny Hamlin, along with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, led much of the first half of the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night, but Kevin Harvick would move to the front to claim the lead for awhile, and then Martin Truex Jr. in the second half of the event.
Hamlin did, however, stay near the front the for the remainder of the race and led additional laps here and there. After Truex took the lead from Hamlin with 44 laps to go and Hamlin then lost second to Greg Biffle, the No. 11 crew got Hamlin off pit road ahead of both Truex and Gordon to give him the lead for a green-white-checker restart.
Hamlin was able to remain up front for those final two laps to claim the win, making him the winningest driver so far this season with four trips to victory lane.
“This is one I wanted real bad,” Hamlin said in victory lane. “I’ve been really good here the last few years and not won one.”
Hamlin’s first win at Atlanta guarantees that he’ll head into the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup with now worse than a tie for the points lead with at least 12 bonus points.
Truex restarted second for the final sprint to the finish, but in the final two laps, he lost two positions to Gordon and Brad Keselowski to finish fourth.
“All night long, I had trouble on the outside, spinning the tires,” Truex said.
With Hamlin getting out first for the restart with the option of choosing which lane he’d start in, he chose the inside line, sending Truex to the outside for the final restart.
Gordon finished in the runner-up spot, and Keselowski was third.
“I should’ve just gotten into him in turn three, and then we’d be in victory lane,” Gordon said after the race in regards to the position he’s in to need a win.
Finishing sixth through 10th were Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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