Hamlin Collects Third-Place Finish at Bristol
Denny Hamlin finished third in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, finding speed in the short track’s top groove to pick up a top-five finish in the 500-lap event won by Joe Gibbs racing teammate Kyle Busch.
Hamlin lined up eighth for the race’s final restart on lap 421, using the preferred outside line to his advantage to seize three spots when the green flag flew. He settled into fifth with his sights still set on the top spot, eventually working his way past Kurt Busch and teammate Matt Kenseth to move into third by lap 480. Despite his best efforts and competitive lap times to catch race leader Kyle Busch and second-place contender Erik Jones, Hamlin would have to settle for third when the checkered flag flew.
“We caught them [teammate Kyle Busch and Erik Jones] a little bit in that last run, but I restarted on the bottom so many times that it made it hard to get good track position all night,” said Hamlin. “I just got killed on restarts all day, but we did a really good job of bouncing back to score a good finish. All in all, our #11 FedEx team had a solid weekend here [at Bristol].”
In route to his top-five finish, Hamlin fluctuated throughout the top-10 during the 266.5-mile event, ultimately collecting 13 additional Championship points for finishing sixth and seventh in Stage 1 and Stage 2 respectively.
Hamlin’s third-place finish in Thunder Valley marks his fifth top-five finish in his past seven races, and his 12th top-10 finish in 24 races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Hamlin moves up one spot to fifth in the overall NASCAR point standings following Saturday night’s race. The Series will take a break for the upcoming off weekend before returning to action at Darlington Raceway on September 3rd.