Denny Hamlin drove to his first victory the season with a stellar pit strategy call to win the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on Sunday evening. Hamlin drove to the lead with five laps remaining and scored the win by half-a-second over Kevin Harvick. It was a great day for Joe Gibbs Racing as all four drivers led laps and finished inside the top-10: Martin Truex Jr. (fourth), Christopher Bell (sixth) and Kyle Busch (ninth).
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Race 7 of 36 – 300 miles, 400 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, DENNY HAMLIN
2nd, Kevin Harvick*
3rd, William Bryon*
4th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
5th, Kyle Larson*
6th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
9th, KYLE BUSCH
26th, BUBBA WALLACE
35th, KURT BUSCH
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
What does this win mean to you?
“It was just a matter of time. We weren’t just going to hang back where we were, but everyone worked so hard on my JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) Toyota Camry team. First and foremost, I’ve got to thank my sponsors – SportClips, FedEx, Coca-Cola, the Jordan Brand, Toyota – such a huge partner of ours, and our new sponsor – Logitech. Great to have them on our car now. You just have a tough season and things aren’t going well. It seems like everything is not going your way and the law of averages say things are going to work out and we’ll get our performance better and today’s the day where it all matched up.”
What is it like from your seat with a strategy race like that?
“I just rely on the crew chief (Chris Gabehart) and his information to me says we are going to be racing this guy and this guy. As long as you run this pace and do everything you can in traffic, you’ve got a great shot to win. I don’t pay attention to where we were or anything. He told me where the leaders were. I just drove the car as smooth as I could.”
What does it mean to you to win again at your home track?
“I love it. I love this track and the techniques that it takes to get around here. I watched some of the greatest short track racers in the world at Southside Speedway and Langley. I’ve learned so much from those guys watching from the stands. When I finally got the opportunity to apply it for myself, I did.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How frustrating was it for you in the end with all of the different strategies?
“It’s frustrating, but it’s part of it. It’s part of the whole day. We did good there for a while. James (Small, crew chief) did a great job all day with the strategy – getting us up-front, getting us the lead. Our Auto-Owners Camry TRD was super-fast out front. Super-fast in clean air. At the end there, I think we just tried to gamble on beating the 24 (William Bryon) and then he ended up doing our strategy and we both screwed up. Heads up the other way, I think we had the best car, but it doesn’t matter. Overall, just really proud of our guys and big step in the right direction for Phoenix. Completely different mindset coming here, after today what we can do going forward. Excited about that. Thanks to everybody at TRD, Toyota, everybody back at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) for working their butts off. Very strong day for our team.”