In a race dominated in the early stages by Martin Truex Jr. who led a race-high 137 laps, it was the No. 11 Toyota Camry of Denny Hamlin that took home the lobster in victory lane. After a quick set of stops on the final green flag run, it was the No. 11 team that set the field and was able to fend off the attacker’s in route to his first win of 2017, securing a spot in The Chase.
Although Hamlin’s JGR teammate Kyle Busch looked fierce taking home a win in the second stage and leading 95 laps, a couple late speeding penalties on pit road stalled any chance he had of ending his drought and taking home the checkered flag.
Hamlin in a backup car after wrecking his primary ride on Friday’s practice was not only able to hold off both Toyota’s, but also the 42 of Kyle Larson who charged from the rear after a post-qualifying penalty removed him from the pole position.
Hamlin led 54 of the 301 laps at New Hampshire and picked up his third career victory at the track including the 30th of his Monster Energy Cup Series career. Hamlin was fired up as he burned ’em up down the front stretch giving spectators in attendance a great finale. Hamlin also jumped out of the car and handed out high fives all around for his team that worked so hard to put the Fed Ex Camry in position to win the Overton’s 301.
“Just, it’s a great feeling. I know we’ve been getting better and better as the year goes on, but definitely needed a win for the organization and myself and just get some momentum going with the playoffs coming up, so we’ve got to get it going. Really, this is awesome.” Hamlin said in victory lane.
Hamlin was followed by Larson, Truex, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 5 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Short track racing at its finest yesterday in Loudon as we saw a race that was dominated by Toyota’s almost entirely from start to finish. This race looked to be the one where JGR would break through with all four cars running great and even rookie Daniel Suarez scored a great finish in 6th position.
A great race at the monster mile was won for the third time by Denny Hamlin and his Joe Gibbs Racing team, who each break through for their first of the season in New England and hope to build off that when they come back in September for The Chase.
Check out the Race highlight’s from NASCAR’s official YouTube channel below:
New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the place to be on Sunday, and as Denny Hamlin said in his interview at the start/finish “we should race here 10 times a year.” That they should, but it was a great day to be at NHMS and I’m very much looking forward to when NASCAR returns again this fall.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank