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Hamlin Grinds Out Fourth-Place Finish at Martinsville

October 28, 2019

Denny Hamlin earned a top-five finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday, giving himself a second-place perch in the Playoff points after the first race of the Round of 8. The 500-lap race at the close-quartered short track featured its typical beating and banging – as well as some lengthy green-flag runs with no passing at all.

Hamlin started from the pole in his #11 FedEx Freight Toyota and led the first 30 laps. But a couple slow pit stops in the early stages dropped him farther back in the top 10. Reclaiming those spots proved difficult for the rest of the race, with the driver citing a lack of grip to make moves off the corners.

The 263-mile race featured 11 caution flags, including three within the final 50 laps that repeatedly bunched up the leaders and allowed Hamlin to regain several spots and move into the top five. He crossed the finish line in fourth place as teammate Martin Truex Jr. took the victory after leading 464 of the 500 laps.

Hamlin’s finish puts him second in Playoff points with two more races remaining before the championship field is pared to four.

“Track position was everything today, and it was difficult to make up spots,” Hamlin said. “Chris (Gabehart) and the team worked hard to give us a fast car, but we just weren’t able to pass our way back up to the front under the conditions. But, we’re in a good spot in the points, and we move on to a racetrack where we won earlier this year.”

The series heads next to Texas Motor Speedway for a 501-mile event on Sunday, Nov. 3. Hamlin earned his second victory of the 2019 season at the 1.5-mile oval in March.