Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hamlin Wins Chase Opener

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Denny Hamlin won the 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Hamlin stayed out when most of the leaders pitted following a caution with 10 laps to go, and he took the lead when the race restarted with six laps to go.  Hamlin said he thought he had a 50/50 chance of holding off the cars behind him on fresh tires.
Photo courtesy Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
“I was going to drive in there and hope that everything worked out,” Hamlin said.  “We stretched it out at the end, even with no tires.”

Hamlin had an eventful race before ending up in victory lane.  Hamlin found himself a lap down early after spinning on lap 2.  Hamlin said his team stayed calm following the incident and his car was fast enough to overcome the early mistake.

“I knew there couldn’t have been that many cars on the lead lap and luckily that one caution came out that allowed us to get the wavearound,” Hamlin said.  “We had a fast car and that’s the important thing.”

With Hamlin’s victory, he is now locked into the next round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  Hamlin is now the only driver who can rest easily over the remaining two races of the Challenger Round.

“Great way to start the Chase.  Takes the pressure off us.  We’re ready to go have some fun.”

Unofficial results:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Carl Edwards
3. Kurt Busch
4. Ryan Newman
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Joey Logano
7. Kyle Larson
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Kyle Busch
10. Aric Almirola
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13. Martin Truex Jr.
14. Jeff Gordon
15. David Ragan
16. Jamie McMurray
17. Paul Menard
18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19. Clint Bowyer
20. Casey Mears
21. Greg Biffle
22. Brian Scott
23. Justin Allgaier
24. Kasey Kahne
25. Tony Stewart
26. Danica Patrick
27. Landon Cassill
28. Trevor Bayne
29. Cole Whitt
30. Sam Hornish Jr.
31. Brett Moffitt
32. David Gilliland
33. Josh Wise
34. Michael Annett
35. J.J. Yeley
36. AJ Allmendinger
37. Alex Bowman
38. Jeb Burton
39. Matt DiBenedetto
40. Reed Sorenson
41. Timmy Hill
42. Kevin Harvick
43. Austin Dillon

Photo courtesy Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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