Hamlin maintains Chase lead

Denny Hamlin remained in the lead of the Sprint Cup series playoff following a strong second-place finish on Sunday's Chase opener at Loudon

Hamlin maintains Chase lead

The 29-year-old, who led the standings for the first time in his career heading into the start of the title battle this weekend, drove a great race of recovery after being turned around more than halfway through the race by title contender Carl Edwards.

The Roush Fenway racer made contact with Hamlin's Toyota, sending him into a spin on lap 213 of 300, but the Joe Gibbs racer managed to avoid hitting the wall, while being lucky of not getting collected by other cars, as he was running in the top-five at the time.

"I was really glad we just didn't get plowed by the entire field," said Hamlin. "Obviously we spun in front the entire field at that point. First thing I asked is how many cars is on the lead lap because I wanted to see how bad our day was going to be

"When we restarted 22nd, I immediately set a goal and said, let's finish top 15 and a few things happen and it was like, crap, let's get a top eight and then top 6, holy cow, we can win this thing. It was one of those days, our car, we just made a heck of a charge at the end."

Hamlin was able to recover from the incident and he quickly made progress while running on a safer fuel strategy than some ahead of him. As the lap-count faded he started to put the pressure on, closing on the leaders who were trying to save enough to make it to the end.

With ten laps remaining he was able to get up to third place, as he continued to shorten the gap to leaders Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer. In the end, the tank of the Stewart-Haas Chevy of his former Gibbs' teammate ran empty, allowing Bowyer to take the win ahead of Hamlin's #11 Toyota.

"The 33 [Bowyer] had a really good car today, the 1 [McMurray], the 14 [Stewart]," said Bowyer. "Those three cars I felt like were the best cars all day. We never really got to show where our car was at. As soon as we got to the Top 3, is when we got spun.

"We clawed and scratched our way to the front all day to get in position with 80 to go to go for a win. Luckily, it's a double-edged sword, it made us come in [the pits], we had to get fuel and it gave us the fuel for the end. Typically, our Toyota gets really good gas mileage, so I knew we were going to be fine on fuel right there at the end.

"Top 6 was where I wanted to leave this day, and so first mission accomplished."

Following Sunday's race Hamlin edges Sunday's winner Bowyer by 35 points in the Chase standing.

shares
comments
Bowyer wins as Stewart runs dry
Previous article

Bowyer wins as Stewart runs dry

Next article

Johnson has tough Chase start

Johnson has tough Chase start
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021