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Hamlin Roars to Victory in the Bristol Night Race

August 19, 2019

Denny Hamlin stormed from two laps down to win Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, passing Matt DiBenedetto with 11 laps remaining to capture his fourth victory of the season.

Hamlin lined up ninth for the final restart with 113 laps to go, and methodically picked off positions towards the front. He made it into the top-five with less than 75 to go, and then up to second with 40 laps remaining. He worked the high line to catch DiBenedetto and then dove to the bottom to complete the pass.

“This FedEx team is on such a roll right now,” said Hamlin, who now has 35 career Cup Series wins. “We show up fast at the race track each and every weekend, and (Saturday), Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) kept me in the game to come back and win the race. I’m proud of our entire team.

The race was not without incident for the #11 FedEx Team. An early wreck happened right in front of Hamlin while leading, and he was collected in it to sustain right-side damage. Repairs dropped him outside the top-10 for Stage 1 (11th), where he was seemingly mired in traffic.

Then in Stage 2, Hamlin felt a loose wheel vibration and made an unscheduled stop on Lap 189, putting him two laps down to the field when the caution flew shortly thereafter. The wave around got one lap back, and then Hamlin got the free pass with six laps to go in Stage 2 after a host of cautions late in that segment.

Hamlin restarted the final segment just inside the top-20 before making his charge to the front.

The finish vaulted Hamlin to third in the NASCAR point standings following Bristol, 77 points behind leader Kyle Busch with three races remaining in the regular season. The Series enjoys an off weekend before returning to action on Sunday, September 1 at Darlington Raceway.