Hamlin Hits Magic Mile Jackpot
LOUDON, N.H. – Denny Hamlin called his shot.
After running out of gas and finishing a disappointing 16th last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Hamlin said via his Twitter account that he would win the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. On Sunday, he backed up his claim.
Hamlin put together a dominating performance Sunday afternoon. Despite qualifying 32nd, Hamlin charged up through the field and drove into the lead before lap 100. Once out front, Hamlin was never seriously challenged as he drove to his first victory at the 1.058-mile asphalt oval.
“I just can’t say enough for this whole FedEx race team. It didn’t hurt to have a little confidence in your team,” said Hamlin, who led 193 of the 300 laps. “I know we made a couple big mistakes over the last two weeks but I said were fast enough to make it up and we were.
“I’ll have these guys’ backs until I die. It’s my team.”
The victory, the 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sprint Cup competition, moved Hamlin up to third in the series standings, only seven points out of the lead.
Jimmie Johnson finished second and moved into the championship lead by one point over Brad Keselowski, who finished sixth.
“He (Hamlin) had a lot of speed in his car and seemed to be able to go when he needed to and wanted to,” Johnson said. “We knew based on the spring race those guys were going to be real tough today and they certainly were.”
Jeff Gordon rebounded from his 32nd-place finish at Chicagoland and finished third. Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne completed the top five.