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Hamlin Powers Back for Top-Five Finish at Martinsville, Jumps to Second in Points

March 25, 2019

Denny Hamlin finished fifth at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday, pushing his way back through the field after a pit road penalty sent him to the back of the pack midway through the race.

Denny started the 500-lap race in the fifth position. He kept the FedEx Ground Toyota in the top five for the entire first half of the race, reaching as high as second, despite saying the car needed more help gripping the track through the short-track turns.

The #11 team started Stage 3 in 20th – last on the lead lap – after a penalty for an uncontrolled tire in the pit. But, Denny gradually worked his way through the field as he circled the .526-mile, paperclip-shaped oval for the remainder of the race. He made his way into the top five with fewer than 50 laps to go and remained there until the checkered flag flew.

The strong finish allowed Denny to jump two spots to second in the championship standings.

"We had a really good FedEx Toyota," Hamlin said. "I thought we had a second- to fourth-place car depending on the scenario. But, I lost some spots on pit road, and we had a penalty for an uncontrolled tire and had to go to the back. We had to fight back toward the front, but we made a good day out of it."

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next heads to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for a 501-mile race on Sunday, March 31.