Chicagoland NASCAR: Denny Hamlin wins for Joe Gibbs despite spin

Denny Hamlin recovered from a first-lap spin to win the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race of 2015 at Chicagoland

Chicagoland NASCAR: Denny Hamlin wins for Joe Gibbs despite spin

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Hamlin found himself in trouble at the start as he tagged AJ Allmendinger and quickly fell a lap behind as he visited the pits.

But following an inspired call to stay out and regain that lap during a mid-race caution, Hamlin found himself third behind Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon into the final 10 laps, after electing to stay out during a late pace car period.

Having previously stopped for tyres three laps and five laps later than Gordon and Busch respectively, Hamlin made full use of his relative advantage and shot past the pair on the restart with five laps to go to claim his second win of the season.

The win also guarantees Hamlin a place in the second round of the Chase.

Team-mate Carl Edwards ran out of time to catch Hamlin after he moved into second with three laps to go.

Erstwhile leader Busch hung on for third on older rubber than most of those around him.

Ryan Newman rarely troubled the front of the field, but raced to fourth in the final laps having also stopped for tyres, just ahead of Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.

In a sign of just how competitive the 2015 Chase field is, Kyle Larson was the best placed of those not in contention in seventh, while Brad Keselowski was eighth ahead of long-time leader Kyle Busch.

Polesitter Kevin Harvick had looked competitive in the opening half of the race but finished the day 58 laps down in 42nd after suffering a tyre blowout as a result of contact with Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson was forced to try an overtake on Harvick after receiving a push from Logano on a mid-race restart, but instead went into the side of Harvick which caused the Stewart-Hass racing driver's bodywork to rub on his rear-left tyre.

Harvick elected to stay out, but that proved to be a disastrous decision as his tyre blew two laps later, causing a fourth caution and serving a blow to the reigning champion's hopes of retaining the Cup.

RESULTS:

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
2 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
3 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 267
4 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 267
5 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
6 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 267
7 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 267
8 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 267
9 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
10 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 267
11 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 267
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 267
13 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 267
14 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 267
15 David Ragan Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 267
16 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 266
17 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 266
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Chevrolet 265
19 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 265
20 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 265
21 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 265
22 Brian Scott Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 265
23 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 265
24 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 264
25 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 264
26 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 264
27 Landon Cassill Hillman Smith Motorsports Chevrolet 263
28 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 263
29 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 263
30 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 262
31 Brett Moffitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 262
32 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 262
33 Josh Wise Go FAS Racing Ford 261
34 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 261
35 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota 261
36 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 260
37 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 259
38 Jeb Burton BK Racing Toyota 259
39 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 258
40 Reed Sorenson Phil Parsons Racing Ford 258
41 Timmy Hill Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 255
42 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 209
43 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 198

CHASE STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Matt Kenseth 2052
2 Denny Hamlin 2050
3 Kyle Busch 2049
4 Carl Edwards 2049
5 Joey Logano 2048
6 Kurt Busch 2048
7 Jimmie Johnson 2045
8 Ryan Newman 2040
9 Brad Keselowski 2039
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2038
11 Martin Truex Jr. 2035
12 Jeff Gordon 2031
13 Jamie McMurray 2028
14 Paul Menard 2027
15 Kevin Harvick 2009
16 Clint Bowyer 2000


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