Denny Hamlin overcomes 2 penalties to win at Texas | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World Sports

Denny Hamlin overcomes 2 penalties to win at Texas

960027_web1_960027-c43aea66db374439bcdb3114d1878dd6
AP
Denny Hamlin races down the front stretch during a NASCAR Cup at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Hamlin would win the race.

Denny Hamlin had such a fast car at Texas Motor Speedway that he was able to win even after two penalties on pit road and some other issues during green flag conditions.

While Hamlin was reviewing all that happened, crew chief Chris Gabehart leaned forward and said, “I think you passed 327 cars by my count, but maybe not.”

Hamlin, who once missed the entry to pit road and also ran out fuel during the race, did do a lot of passing to get to Victory Lane on Sunday. He led the final 12 laps and 45 overall to overcome those miscues and the penalties — one when he exited pit road too fast early in the day and another for a debatable tire violation against his team during a stop just past the halfway point.

“I was just beating my head against the steering wheel thinking, ‘Man, we’re going to finish bad with a really fast race car,’ ” Hamlin said. “We just kept digging and Chris kept doing a good job encouraging us we had a long way to go. We kept passing cars and passing cars.”

Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota finished more than 2.7 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer. The 334-lap race at the 1 1/2-mile track, with only three cautions outside the two stage stoppages, featured 27 lead changes among 13 drivers.

It was the 33rd career victory for Hamlin. He won the season-opening Daytona 500 after he went winless last year to end a streak of 12 consecutive seasons getting into Victory Lane.

His third win at Texas was his first since sweeping both races at the track in 2010.

Gibbs drivers have won four of the seven races this season, and Team Penske won the other three.

All four Stewart-Haas Racing finished in the top eight, led by Bower and Daniel Saurez finishing third. Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick were seventh and eighth.

Erik Jones, another Gibbs driver, finished fourth and polesitter Jimmie Johnson was fifth, just ahead of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. Kurt Busch was ninth and JGR driver Kyle Busch finished 10th despite leading a race-high 66 laps in his attempt for a tripleheader weekend sweep.

Kyle Busch led six times, and was still in front with 59 laps to go when his No. 18 Toyota drifted high going into Turn 2.

“It just busted loose on me, and I had to catch it and make sure we didn’t crash,” he said. “First and foremost, we did that.”

While he avoided contact then, he slipped back to fourth. When trying to get back in front a few laps later, he brushed the outside wall and fell a lap behind after having to go to pit road.

For the second time in a month, he missed out on a tripleheader sweep after going into the Cup race following Xfinity and Truck Series races in the same weekend. He completed such sweeps twice at Bristol, in 2010 and 2017.

It was the third time at Texas that Kyle Busch won the Xfinity and Trucks Series races before coming up short in the weekend-ending Cup race. That also happened to him at his home track in Las Vegas four weeks earlier.

Categories: Sports | US-World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.