Denny Hamlin Captures First Career Dover Win Featured

Saturday, Aug 22 408
Jared C. Tilton/ Getty Images Jared C. Tilton/ Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon, Denny Hamlin was able to conquer the Monster Mile to capture his sixth win of the 2020 season. 

“I've been running down the leaders these past few weeks and have been unable to get there. We didn’t control that restart there and we just had to battle back. We had to go back and get it and we were able to work that top line there to get some momentum. It looked like our car was just a little bit better by moving around to different lines” Hamlin said to NBC Sports post-race.

When asked about how it feels to get his first win at Dover Hamlin said, “People always ask when we have Q&As, ‘what's your least favorite track?’ and I always say Dover because I’m just not good here. I love the track but I just haven’t been good here.”

Last week's winner, Chase Elliott, started on pole with championship favorite Denny Hamlin starting second. Four cars were required to start in the rear: the No. 15 of Brennan Poole (two inspection failures), the No. 96 of Daniel Suarez (unapproved adjustments), the No. 51 of Joey Gase (unapproved adjustments and the No. 7 of Garrett Smithley (impound procedure infraction).

When the Motor Racing Network’s Mike Bagley waved the green flag, Elliott got a big jump over Hamlin as the dove into turn one. 

The action started when Kurt Busch brought out the first caution on lap 8 as he spun around after contact with Erik Jones. Alex Bowman was also damaged in the incident that ended Busch’s day.

The competition caution came out on lap 26 as Elliott continued to stretch out his lead. Austin Dillon and Matt Kenseth led the field to green during this restart after they stayed out under the yellow.

Dillon was able to stretch his lead to 3.7 seconds before Hamlin got around Kenseth and started closing the gap, ultimately taking the lead from Dillon on lap 59. Hamlin went on to grab his sixth stage win of the season as he won stage one.

Stage One:

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Austin Dillon
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Clint Bowyer
  5. Martin Truex Jr.
  6. Joey Logano
  7. Kevin Harvick
  8. Jimmie Johnson
  9. Chris Buescher
  10. Aric Almirola

 

Midway through the stage, sixth placed Kevin Harvick came down pit road to begin the cycle of green flag pit stops; Hamlin was able to cycle back around to the lead. 

Denny Hamlin continued his domination as he also won stage two.

Stage Two:

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. Kevin Harvick
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  10. Chase Elliott

 

Martin Truex Jr. was able to win the race off of pit road and jump out to the lead on the restart followed by his teammate Kyle Busch. Joe Gibbs Racing took the top three positions of the race when Hamlin took the third position from Brad Keselowski on lap 208.

All eyes were on the playoff picture throughout the race as there are only two races left in the regular season. William Byron, who came into the race 25 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, struggled most of the day, eventually going two laps down in the second stage after staying out under green much longer than the leaders.

Harvick was yet again the first of the leaders to bring their car to get service under green. New tires are roughly one second per lap faster than old tires. Because of that, when Harvick brought his Stewart-Haas Racing entry to pit road, all the leaders pitted right away.

With 13 to go, the battle for the lead heated up when Hamlin chased down Truex Jr. as they weaved in and out of lapped traffic. Hamlin was able to steal the lead from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate with nine laps to go. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry never looked back as he swept all three stages, scoring 60 championship points along with seven playoff points.

Results:

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Chase Elliott
  6. Clint Bowyer
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

The NASCAR Cup Series is back in action tomorrow for the second leg of their doubleheader at Dover. You can catch the Drydene 311 on Sunday, August 23rd at 4:00pm EST on NBCSN for the penultimate race of the Cup Series regular season.

 

Josh Slate

Hello, my name is Josh Slate and I'm from Richmond, Virginia. I'm currently a student at Randolph-Macon College studying Communications with a minor in Journalism. I am following my dream of pursuing a career in the media side of the NASCAR industry. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, watch sports and explore the outdoors.