Denny Hamlin Overcomes Pit Road Penalties To Win At Texas Motor Speedwayby Camille Jones March 31, 2019 0 comments
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Denny Hamlin claimed his second victory of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 FedEx Office overcame two pit road penalties in the race before taking the checkered flag. Hamlin led 45 laps in the race.
“Yeah, our car was really, really fast,” said Hamlin. “We obviously saw that. Once we got out front, we were able to pull away from the pack a little bit. Got a little bit loose when we were racing our teammates in the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 20 (Erik Jones). So wasn’t able to be as aggressive as I was earlier in the race. We had a super fast car. That’s why we won.”
Hamlin added and said, “I missed pit road under green, that cost us three or four seconds, as well. I don’t know. We tried every way we could to give it away, and we found a way to do it with this FedEx Camry.”
Hamlin’s pit road penalties were a hassle, one for speeding on lap 64 and another for an uncontrolled tire on lap 173, but he knew his car had the speed to overcome them.
“Yeah, I mean, in short really all that cost us today was we lost out on stage points in the first stage, and I probably cost us a lot of laps led more than likely,” Hamlin said. “Certainly things fell favorable for us with the cautions that did come. We were able to have some really good restarts. That was key for us, as well. The final two restarts, we were really able to gain positions.”
Hamlin continued and said, “I thought we were able to go through the pack as good as anyone when we did get behind. That was key. Looked like passing was very, very difficult, no doubt about it. It seemed like our car could move around as good as anyone. That’s what allowed me to be aggressive, allowed me to come through the pack multiple times.”
Clint Bowyer finished in the second position on Sunday in the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang. The performance marked his best finish and third top-10 of the 2019 season.
“All in all, our car handled good,” Bowyer said. “It wasn’t lightning fast all day long, but as they started slip sliding around and struggling we’d kind of prevail on those long runs. That was our M.O. Denny, he was relatively fast all weekend long – top of the sheet – so we just weren’t really. All in all, I’m really happy to finish where we were. What a wild race.”
Bowyer’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez, finished in the third position. Erik Jones and polesitter, Jimmie Johnson, finished in fourth and fifth. William Byron, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch who led a race high of 66 laps finished rounded out the top-10 in the finishing order.
Joey Logano won Stage 1 of the event, while race-winner, Denny Hamlin, won Stage 2.
Over the course of the 334-lap event, there were 27 lead changes and five cautions for a total of 29 laps under yellow. There were no multi-car incidents in the race.
After seven races in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Kyle Busch maintains the points lead with two race wins. Today’s race winner, Hamlin, is currently second in the standings, trailing Busch by eight points.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will head to Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend for the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 7. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 2 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images