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Hamlin Scores OT Xfinity Win

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 28 2016
Denny Hamlin notched an Xfinity win on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett )

Denny Hamlin notched an Xfinity win on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett )

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Four new tires during the final caution flag gave Denny Hamlin the advantage he needed to shoot to the front in the last two laps of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and claim a 0.291-second victory over Austin Dillon.

“We needed a caution to get caught up (at the end) and we got it,” Hamlin said. “I was willing to do whatever the opposite of the guys in front me.”

The eighth caution period began when Erik Jones’ Toyota smacked the wall. At the time, leader Kyle Larson was only three-quarters of a lap away from the white flag. Joey Logano was second and Hamlin third. When Larson and Logano remained on the track, Hamlin pitted. His crew’s quick work gave him the distinction of being the first car off pit road with four fresh tires. That gave Hamlin the sixth position, and the outside, for the restart.  

In the overtime restart in the scheduled 200-lap race it was evident the cars with fresh tires possessed the advantage. In the scramble among the 14 cars on the lead lap, Hamlin stayed high, pushing Larson past Dillon and then shooting between the two of them to snatch second before they reached the white flag. On the final lap, Hamlin remained in the high groove and grabbed the lead from Logano in turns one and two.

Larson, who was leading on the restart, made one final gallant effort on the last lap. Utilizing the high groove that had proven fast for him in the race’s later stages, Larson sped off the second turn and appeared headed to the outside of Hamlin. However, in turns three and four, Larson got into the wall and had to settle for sixth.

“It’s pretty hard to beat four (new) tires when you’ve run almost 40 laps on your tires,” said Larson, who led five times for 46 laps.

Even though Hamlin led five times for 76 laps, he found himself back in traffic late in the race due to a penalty. On lap 160, Hamlin was assessed an uncontrolled tire violation during the seventh caution period. He was supposed to start at the rear of the field, but that didn’t occur.

“You’re supposed to restart at the tail end unless guys wave over or unless guy’s layover. My job was to get to the tail end of all the cars that were on the lead lap and one lap down and then leave a buffer,” Hamlin explained after his 15th Xfinity Series victory and his first this season. “I left about an eight- to 10-car buffer from whoever was in front of me to allow the wave around cars to come around the race track and then get in front of me. The problem was that all the wave around cars were multiple laps down or they had damage. They weren’t wanting to get up there on the restart.

“At that point, I waited all the way to turn four to catch up to the pack. I gave everyone an opportunity to get up there as far as they could. I was laying back and actually got a really bad restart because off of turn four I was trying to wave everybody past me, but if they’re not going to go, they’re not going to go.”

Hamlin averaged 114.515 mph in the race that was slowed by eight caution flags for 54 laps. There were 21 lead changes among 10 drivers at the 1.5-mile track. Hamlin was the top lap leader.

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NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Hisense 4K TV 300
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, North Carolina
Saturday, May 28, 2016

1. (3) Denny Hamlin(i), Toyota, 206.
2. (4) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 206.
3. (7) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 206.
4. (11) Cole Custer(i), Chevrolet, 206.
5. (8) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 206.
6. (5) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 206.
7. (12) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 206.
8. (10) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 206.
9. (14) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 206.
10. (17) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 206.
11. (27) Jeb Burton, Ford, 206.
12. (2) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 206.
13. (19) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 206.
14. (18) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 206.
15. (31) Garrett Smithley #, Chevrolet, 206.
16. (13) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 205.
17. (16) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 205.
18. (20) Drew Herring, Toyota, 205.
19. (15) Ryan Reed, Ford, 204.
20. (21) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 204.
21. (23) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 204.
22. (26) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 203.
23. (25) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 203.
24. (40) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 203.
25. (30) BJ McLeod #, Ford, 202.
26. (35) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, 202.
27. (9) Darrell Wallace Jr., Ford, 201.
28. (6) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 200.
29. (22) Spencer Gallagher(i), Chevrolet, 200.
30. (34) Carl Long, Toyota, 200.
31. (1) Erik Jones #, Toyota, Accident, 197.
32. (37) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 183.
33. (36) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Suspension, 130.
34. (29) Jeff Green, Toyota, Fuel Pump, 127.
35. (38) Mike Harmon, Dodge, Accident, 91.
36. (33) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, Transmission, 84.
37. (32) Ray Black Jr. #, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 27.
38. (39) Cody Ware #, Ford, Accident, 12.
39. (28) Josh Wise(i), Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 5.
40. (24) Matt DiBenedetto(i), Toyota, Vibration, 3.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  114.515 mph.
Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 41 Mins, 54 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.291 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  8 for 54 laps.
Lead Changes:  21 among 10 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   E. Jones # 1-13; D. Hamlin(i) 14-15; E. Jones # 16; J. Green 17; D. Hamlin(i) 18-49; K. Larson(i) 50-54; D. Wallace Jr. 55-59; R. Chastain 60; D. Hamlin(i) 61-97; K. Larson(i) 98-111; R. Blaney(i) 112-113; C. Custer(i) 114; D. Suarez 115-116; D. Hamlin(i) 117-120; J. Logano(i) 121-147; K. Larson(i) 148-159; J. Logano(i) 160; K. Larson(i) 161-165; J. Logano(i) 166-194; K. Larson(i) 195-204; J. Logano(i) 205; D. Hamlin(i) 206;.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  D. Hamlin(i) 5 times for 76 laps; J. Logano(i) 4 times for 58 laps; K. Larson(i) 5 times for 46 laps; E. Jones # 2 times for 14 laps; D. Wallace Jr. 1 time for 5 laps; D. Suarez 1 time for 2 laps; R. Blaney(i) 1 time for 2 laps; J. Green 1 time for 1 lap; C. Custer(i) 1 time for 1 lap; R. Chastain 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: D. Suarez – 376; E. Sadler – 362; J. Allgaier – 353; T. Dillon – 352; B. Gaughan – 336; B. Jones # – 324; E. Jones # – 320; B. Poole # – 314; D. Wallace Jr. – 283; R. Reed – 266.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 28 2016
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