Hamlin Wins at New Hampshire, Captures 30th-Career Cup Victory
Denny Hamlin led 54 laps of Sunday’s 301-lap Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race New Hampshire Motor Speedway to claim his first victory of the 2017 season in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota and his third win at the New England ‘Magic Mile.’ Hamlin held off a hard-charging Kyle Larson in the race’s closing laps to pick up his 30th-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win in 417 starts.
Hamlin lined up fourth for the race’s final restart with only 35 laps to go, throttling past Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Matt Kenseth in the outside line to take the lead on lap 268. After assuming the top spot, Hamlin used the clean air to his advantage to widen the gap between him and the rest of the field.
“The second I moved passed Matt (Kenseth) and saw that some of the leaders were held up behind him, all I was thinking was that I needed to build the biggest lead I possibly can here because I knew the No. 42 (Larson) will be making a charge at the end,” said Hamlin.
Hamlin did just that, creating an almost two-second gap between him and the field during the next 10 laps. Larson gained ground on Hamlin with only three laps to go, but Hamlin maintained his rhythm and recorded a .509-second margin of victory over Larson when the checkered flag flew.
“We didn’t have the greatest long-run car which is typically our strength, so it was my job to race as fast I could in those first 10 laps after the restart to build a big lead and manage it until the end,” said Hamlin. “The outside line was key there at the end. It’s just a great feeling to get this win today – for myself and for the organization (Joe Gibbs Racing) – and to build some momentum leading into the Playoffs.”
Hamlin was forced to compete in his backup car at New Hampshire after sustaining significant damage to the #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry during Friday’s opening practice. The team moved quickly to prepare the secondary car for that evening’s qualifying session, and Hamlin advanced to the third and final round of qualifying to earn his eighth-place starting spot.
“I put us behind on Friday with the wreck in practice,” Hamlin shared, “but my #11 FedEx team did a great job getting the backup car as close as they could (to the primary). This is a total team effort all around.”
As a part of this season’s Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program, the #11 team’s win at New Hampshire triggers a $16,994 total donation to Safe Kids Worldwide: $11,000 for the race win and an additional $5,994 donation ($111/lap) for the 54 total laps led during Sunday’s event. This season, $36,752 has been donated to Safe Kids Worldwide as a result of Denny’s on-track performance.
Hamlin’s victory at New Hampshire moves him up two spots to fifth in the NASCAR point standings after 19 of 26 regular season races, 169 points behind points leader Martin Truex Jr.
The Series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 24th running of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 23.