Homestead – Post Race Report
Hamlin Wins Season Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Denny Hamlin won his first race of 2013 in the season's final event, leading five times for 72 laps en route to victory lane in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry.
Hamlin grabbed the lead from Dale Earnhardt Jr. after a late-race restart, and held off both Earnhardt and Matt Kenseth to take the checkered flag, earning the 23rd victory of his career and marking the eighth-straight season with at least one victory for the FedEx Racing Team.
"What an incredible race," said Hamlin. "Our pit crew was flawless, the car was fast and we were able to beat them at the end. I knew after the first run that we had a car that could contend for the win, and when we got shuffled back after the first caution, I was even more optimistic when I saw that we could pass people and move back to the front. It was a great way to end a pretty disappointing year for our FedEx team, and gives us great momentum heading into next season."
Hamlin started fifth and stayed in the top-10 in the early portion of the 267-lap even on the 1.5-mile oval. After the first caution, Hamlin stayed out to take the lead, but unfortunately, the rest of the field came to pit road for tires, making the #11 car a sitting duck for the restart. Hamlin shuffled all the way back to 18th before another caution, where he could come in for fresh rubber. After the restart, he moved quickly through the field, and a long green flag stretch during the race's midpoint saw Hamlin, Earnhardt Jr. and Kenseth all battle for the lead.
The race's final caution came on Lap 232, with Hamlin coming to pit road in second but taking the lead after a quick stop by the FedEx crew. Restarting as the leader, Hamlin was passed by Earnhardt Jr. on the inside of Turn 2. Four laps later, Hamlin passed Earnhardt for good, leading the final 24 laps to take the win.