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Denny Hamlin Fends Off Kyle Larson to Score Third Win of 2024 at Dover

Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance

“Man, I love winning.”

To triumph in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Dover Motor Speedway, Denny Hamlin had to remain perfect throughout the race’s final green-flag run, which stretched in excess of 70 laps.

With Kyle Larson breathing down his neck, the Chesterfield, Virginia-native managed to continue crafting perfect laps, picking the perfect lane to block the advances of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion.

Despite numerous surges by Larson in the race’s final handful of laps, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was able to cross the start-finish line a quarter-second ahead of the No. 5 Chevrolet at the end of 400 laps, the closest finish at Dover Motor Speedway since 2016.

I think the key moment really was Kyle [Larson] did a great job executing on that green flag pit stop,” said Hamlin after the race. “Then we were able to get the lead on the restart, which allowed us with caution to control the restart. That was the key moment for us.”

The victory marked the third of the season for Hamlin, matching William Byron, as well as the 54th of his NASCAR Cup Series career, tying him for 12th all-time with Lee Petty.

“It’s fantastic. I couldn’t hold Lee Petty’s helmet. I’ve been blessed with a great race team. This whole FedEx team, Mavis team, Sport Clips, everyone that supports this 11 car, they’re the ones that make it happen. I’m the lucky one that gets to drive it,” said Hamlin about the accomplishment.

Hamlin dominated the late stages of Sunday’s 400-mile contest at Dover Motor Speedway, leading a race-high 136 laps. However, the No. 11 Mavis Tires & Brakes Toyota Camry XSE didn’t even sniff the lead of the race until after the halfway point, Lap 254.

The final pass for the race lead came on the second-to-last restart of the event, as the No. 11 drove around Kyle Larson to take over control of the race, which he wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the event, ultimately scoring the win.

After making a late-race charge for the victory, Larson would have to settle for a second-place finish, his fifth top-five result of the NASCAR Cup Series season.

“Not in the last 10 [laps],” said Larson about what could be done differently. “Just losing the lead when I got the restart as a leader. I went late in the zone. Martin was trying to time it behind me. He hit me right when I wanted to go. Screwed up. Got a lot of wheel spin.”

Martin Truex, Jr. came home third place in the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry XSE, his second-best result of the season, inferior to Bristol, where the driver finished second to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.

After scoring his first pole position in nearly a full season, Kyle Busch had a strong afternoon, finishing fourth place for Richard Childress Racing, his second-best result of the year, and his best finish of the season on a non-superspeedway.

Chase Elliott continued a streak of solid runs for his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team, rounding out the top-five, and finishing fifth after coming to life late in the going.

Finishing in sixth place for Stewart-Haas Racing, Noah Gragson earned back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, after a third-place run last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman both continued their respectable seasons with top-10 finishes, coming home in seventh and eighth, while Daniel Hemric scored another top-10 finish for Kaulig Racing in ninth after the caution flag fell at the perfect time for the No. 31 team’s strategy, played by crew chief Trent Owens.

Ty Gibbs returned to the top-10 for the first time since Circuit of The Americas in March, finishing 10th.

Corey Heim, making his NASCAR Cup Series debut on Sunday subbing for the injured Erik Jones, finished 25th for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, after showing pace to run inside the top-20 before an untimely caution trapped the team additional laps down.

Bubba Wallace, William Byron, and Christopher Bell all suffered poor finishes, after an accident in the final stage of the race that started with contact from Zane Smith, sending all three entries into the inside wall at the exit of the second corner.

The race featured five cautions for 42 laps, alongside nine leaders and 12 lead changes. Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Kyle Busch, Corey LaJoie, Daniel Hemric, and Bubba Wallace all took turns at the front of the field.

Leaving Dover, Kyle Larson continues to lead the regular-season point standings by 15 points over Martin Truex, Jr. Chase Elliott sits third, with Denny Hamlin and Tyler Reddick rounding out the top-five. The next stop on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar is at Kansas Speedway, a track the No. 11 team was victorious at last Spring.

Race Results: NASCAR Cup Series Wurth 400 at Dover

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