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Monday, December 6, 2021

Denny Hamlin Wins in Photo Finish With Matt DiBenedetto, DiBenedetto Penalized by NASCAR

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 04: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 04, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin emerged victorious for his seventh win of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season after a third overtime attempt in Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The win came in controversial fashion, as Hamlin went below the yellow line in the final turn to advance his position. Hamlin went on to edge out Matt DiBenedetto for the win.

Video: Finish of the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega

NASCAR determined that Hamlin was forced below the yellow line, not that he went below the line on his own accord.

For DiBenedetto, who is in search of his first-career win, it seemed like another heartbreaking close call. DiBenedetto finished second a week ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and it looked like he finished second again Sunday at Talladega, but upon further review, NASCAR penalized DiBenedetto for forcing William Byron below the line on the final lap.

As a result, DiBenedetto was relegated to a 21st-place finish.

With DiBenedetto being penalized, that moves Erik Jones to a runner-up finish. Ty Dillon came home third, and he was followed by William Byron and Ryan Newman in fourth and fifth.

Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, Brennan Poole and Ryan Preece rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.

Chase Elliott, who led 41 laps on the day, and was in the mix for the win in the closing laps, ended up 22nd after also being penalized for passing below the yellow line on the final lap.

Sunday’s event was a wild race, which featured 15 cautions, an all-time Talladega Superspeedway record. The race also had 58 lead changes.

Here is the updated NCS Round of 12 Playoffs Grid with one race left in the round:

  1. Denny Hamlin, (locked into Round of 8 with win)
  2. Kurt Busch, (locked into Round of 8 with a win)
  3. Kevin Harvick, +68
  4. Brad Keselowski, +41
  5. Martin Truex Jr., +32
  6. Chase Elliott, +27
  7. Alex Bowman, +22
  8. Joey Logano, +21

—Cut Line—

9. Kyle Busch, -21
10. Austin Dillon, -21
11. Clint Bowyer, -37
12. Aric Almirola, -48

Post-Race Stat Pack:

Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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