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Hamlin Powers His Way to Victory in Pro Invitational Finale

May 10, 2020

Denny Hamlin took a fast FedEx “Delivering Strength” Toyota to Victory Lane at virtual North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway, bookending the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series with wins. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s other win in the iRacing simulator series came in its first race, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, on March 22.

Hamlin used a bump-and-run pass on Ross Chastain to take the lead with only eight laps remaining in the race, the last event on the virtual platform before the NASCAR Cup Series returns to at-track racing next weekend. 

Hamlin was the second-fastest qualifier for the 160-lap race on the historic short track, but he lined up ninth after the top 10 was inverted for the start. An early collision with John Hunter Nemechek resulted in damage that required Hamlin to use his “fast repair” reset and knocked him outside of the top 20. The driver of the #11 gradually worked his way back up through the field and led 24 total laps throughout the day.

“I knew we had the fastest car,” said Hamlin. “It was just getting through traffic. I had that early incident and had to use the fast repair right off the bat. Then we had some good short-track battles with Christopher Bell and then Ross Chastain at the end.

“I can’t wait to get back to real racing now. I have to thank FedEx, Coca-Cola, Toyota and everyone from iRacing that put this together. Also, have to say thank you to FOX for everything they did broadcasting these races. It’s been a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see you guys in the real world starting next week.”

Cup Series racing resumes on Sunday, May 17, at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.