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Denny Hamlin finished fourth in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, capturing his third top-five finish of the season in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota. Hamlin lined up second for the final restart alongside Kyle Larson with five laps remaining, but the non-preferred inside line proved menacing, as Hamlin slipped to third by Turn 2. He battled with Joey Logano for the remaining circuits and took the checkered flag in fourth. Hamlin started fifth and showed strong speed throughout the 200-lap race. He finished fourth in Stage 1, but a lengthy pit stop during the break moved him outside the top-10 for the start of Stage 2. He worked his way through traffic to finish that stage in seventh. The race's final segment saw a lengthy green-flag run, with Hamlin methodically moving up in the running order. A flurry of late-race cautions bunched the field, with drivers in the outside groove on restarts having a decided advantage. Hamlin's finish keeps the #11 team ninth in the current NASCAR standings following Michigan.
The Series heads to Sonoma Raceway for the first road course event on the 2017 NASCAR schedule. In 11 starts at the California track, Hamlin has two top-five and three top-10 finishes. He has led 81 laps at the road course, notching 33 of those laps after a stellar performance during last year's race at the 1.99-mile track; the same race where Hamlin went on to score a career-best second-place finish, narrowly missing the win after a thrilling last-lap battle with Tony Stewart.
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Denny Hamlin finished fourth in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway, charging his way through the field in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota on two separate occasions to ultimately capture his second career-best finish at the 1.99-mile California road course. See full post-race report