Hamlin wins NASCAR race in Richmond
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[September 12, 2016]
RICHMOND, Va. -- Denny Hamlin
claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of 2016 with a
victory at his home track in the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR
Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday
"That's what's so special about it, so you get to do it at home and
there's just -- I see all the extra Denny Hamlin shirts and hats and
everything and fires me up every time I get here," Hamlin said.
Kyle Larson got by Martin Truex Jr. on the final lap to take
runner-up honors. Truex, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick finished
third through fifth, respectively.
A track-record-setting 16th caution occurred on lap 399 of the
400-lap scheduled distance when Regan Smith made hard contact with
the wall. That sent the race into overtime for a two-lap sprint to
determine the winner. Hamlin and Truex restarted on the front row,
ahead of Kasey Kahne, who was looking for a win in his final chance
to get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which starts Sept. 18 at
But when the race restarted for the final time, Kahne slid backward
instead of going forward, dropping outside the top five by the
With 12 drivers locked into the Chase by virtue of race wins, four
drivers headed into Richmond in the provisional spots to claim Chase
berths. Those four drivers -- Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Jamie
McMurray and Chris Buescher -- left RIR with official Chase berths.
Buescher, with a win already, had to manage to remain in the top 30
of the points standings by remaining ahead of David Ragain. Buescher
was among the eight drivers involved in the record-tying 14th yellow
flag on lap 363, but fortunately for him, Ragan also was among the
"I knew we could get here," Buescher said of making the Chase. "I
knew we had a good shot at it. For as much as we had going on, I
know David is bummed to get caught up in a wreck, and that isn't how
we wanted to clinch it, but it made it easier in that sense. The
second part was trying to get to the top-30 in owner points, and
that wasn't easy, either."
While the yellow flag waved only four times in the first half of the
race, with the fourth caution coming at the halfway mark, it waved
often in the second half for another 12 cautions. The 15th caution
led to a 20-minute red flag for extensive track clean-up after a
wreck that started with contact between Ryan Newman and Tony
Stewart. Stewart's car caught fire and Dylon Lupton's car came to a
rest on the hood of Newman's car.
"The No. 14 (Stewart) cut across my note into turn one, and I got
into him after that, but he'd already chopped into me and messed up
my line and I clipped him a little bit coming off of (turn) two,"
Newman said. "But he just cut across my nose. Going down the back
straightaway there, I guess he thought he was in a sprint car again;
did not know how to control his anger."
Truex and Hamlin continued their combined dominant performance well
into the second half of the race before Truex was sent to the back
of the field because of a speeding penalty during a lap-265 caution.
Before that point, he had led a race-high 175 laps.
"I don't think anybody's got a leg up on us, that's for sure," Truex
said. "We've got fast cars. We've got smart people calling the race
and setting the cars up, and the cars have been fast all year long;
we've shown that."
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Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (88) races driver Brad
Keselowski (2) during the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond
International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY
Hamlin continued up front as Truex worked his way back up through
the field. Truex pitted during a lap-279 caution and then stayed out
when the yellow flag waved again on lap 291. He restarted the race
third and quickly got back up to second.
On lap 303, Truex retook the lead, but Hamlin took the top spot for
good when he got off pit road first during the 10th caution of the
race that came out with just under 80 laps remaining.
"Really got it tuned in there the last half of the race," Hamlin
said. "Just good restarts. Finally, everything just kind of worked
well for us all day."
Truex was the leader at the halfway point of the race, and Toyota
held the top three spots at that point, with Matt Kenseth running
second and Hamlin third.
The race reached its halfway point under yellow as a result of
Jimmie Johnson hitting the wall. The Johnson caution was the fourth
of the race.
Hamlin started the race on the pole and Truex began sixth. The two
combined to lead most of the laps in the first half of the race. The
only other lap leaders were Jeffrey Earnhardt, Kenseth and Kurt
Busch, leading a combined four laps, all under caution as cars
worked their ways on and off pit road. Truex took his most recent
lead just past lap 100.
Throughout much of the first half of the race, Toyota held
possession of the top four spots in the running order, with Kyle
Busch also running in the top four. But Ford driver Keselowski
crashed the Toyota party just before lap 150 when he got by Busch
NOTES: The Federated Auto Parts 400 marked the 500th career Sprint
Cup starts for Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle. ... Joe Gibbs Racing
won the last two races at Richmond International Raceway, with Carl
Edwards winning there earlier this season and Matt Kenseth winning
last year's Federated Auto Parts 400. ... Kyle Busch is the
winningest active driver at RIR with four victories. ... Busch
dominated and won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond on
Friday night, leading 197 of 250 laps. ... Heading into Saturday's
Richmond race, the final race of the regular season, 12 drivers had
already clinched spots in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup by
virtue of race wins -- Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano,
Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex
Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson and Tony Stewart.
Chris Buescher also had a regular-season race win but headed into
Richmond too close to the top-30 cut-off to already have a Chase
berth clinched. Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray were
the other three drivers, heading into RIR, in provisional Chase
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