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NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin wins at Kansas

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – JULY 23: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Super Start Batteries 400 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts at Kansas Speedway on July 23, 2020 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Denny Hamlin claimed his 2020 NASCAR Cup Series-leading fifth race of the season, 19 races into the year, on Thursday night when he took the checkered flag for the Super Start Batteries 400 at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City. Thursday night’s win also was Hamlin’s second-straight win, following a dominant performance at the track last October.

“We can win any given week, and that’s something that is really hard to come by,” Hamlin said. “This team is good at short tracks, intermediates, superspeedways. Have to thank FedEx, Toyota and the Jordan Brand, Coca-Cola and all of our partners at JGR. They’ve done a great job at building us fast cars.”

Brad Keselowski finished second, Martin Truex Jr. was third, Kevin Harvick fourth, and Hamlin and Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones finished fifth to give JGR three cars inside the top-five.

After an 11th and final caution on lap 242, the race restarted for the final time on lap 246 with Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron up front, but on the final restart, 2020 season leaders, four-race winner Harvick took the lead and Hamlin second. On lap 255 of the 267-lap race, Hamlin took his race-winning lead.

“I don’t know that we had the best car; we definitely had a top-three car all day,” Hamlin said. “Just went and got it there at the end. I saw the 4 (Harvick) get loose and, usually, when you’re loose, you’re not able to run up high. That was a benefit for us to be able to get that momentum going. The pit crew did an amazing job getting us out there ahead of everyone else that had four tires. Proud of this whole FedEx team. We’ve had a rough three weeks. We were leading at Indy when we blew a tire, and this team is really hitting on all cylinders right now.”

Hamlin led a race-high 57 laps of the race. Another of his JGR teammates, reigning series champion Kyle Busch led 52 laps, but Busch got into the wall and, as a result, made a green-flag pit stop inside the final 50 laps. He wound up just outside the top-10 in 11th at the end of the race.

Ryan Blaney, who also led laps earlier in the race, got into the wall about the same time as Busch. He wound up 20th at the checkered flag.

Busch was the winner of the first 80-lap stage of the race. After Joey Logano took the lead from pole-sitter Harvick on the opening lap, and Truex took the lead on pit road during a lap-25 competition caution, Busch took the lead on a lap-31 restart.

Logano, after pitting from the lead during the caution was penalized for an uncontrolled tire.

Hamlin was the first out of the pits after the opening stage, but on lap 97 he lost that lead to Truex.

Keselowski took the lead with a two-tire pit stop during a lap-100 caution. Truex retook the lead on lap 115 before Blaney, utilizing the same strategy of his Team Penske teammate Keselowski before him, got the lead with a two-tire stop during a lap-143 caution. Keselowski, though, retook the lead on lap 159 for a stage-two win a lap later.

Hamlin was up front for the start of the final 107-lap stage after a fuel-only stop and remained up front until Truex took the lead on lap 193. Byron led laps after staying out during a lap-195 caution, and Keselowski and Bowman also led laps before the final caution of the race.

Aric Almirola finished sixth, Cole Custer was seventh, Bowman eighth, Kurt Busch ninth, and Byron finished 10th.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Super Start Batteries 400 at Kansas Speedway:

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Posted by on July 24, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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