Denny Hamlin Clinches Overtime Victory at Richmond in Dramatic Easter Night Race

Denny Hamlin Clinches Overtime Victory at Richmond in Dramatic Easter Night Race
Denny Hamlin Clinches Overtime Victory at Richmond in Dramatic Easter Night Race
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Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team executed a crucial pit stop that allowed him to take the lead exiting the pits. He then maintained his lead during a two-lap overtime shootout to win the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway, his home track. This victory was Hamlin’s 53rd career win in the NASCAR Cup Series, his second win of the season, and his fifth win at the 0.75-mile Richmond oval, with a victory margin of 0.269 seconds over Joey Logano from Team Penske. The win was at the expense of JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr., who finished fourth despite leading 228 of the race’s 407 laps.

Hamlin described the win as a team effort, praising his pit crew for their exceptional performance throughout the year.

“This was a team win for sure. Each one of these pit crew members just did an amazing job. They’ve been killing it all year.

“Such a great feeling when you can come in and have a pit crew like that,” said Hamlin.

The race ended in frustration for Truex, who had been leading for 54 consecutive laps before a caution flag with two laps left in regulation allowed Hamlin to beat him out of the pits.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s happened a few times over the years. We were in a great spot and had a great Auto Owners Camry all night long and the guys did a really good job. Just got beat out of the pits and then he [Hamlin] jumped the start and just used me up in Turn 1.

“Definitely sucks. Another car capable of winning. We’ll just have to come back next week and try to get one,” added Truex.

Despite this setback, Truex still leads the championship by 14 points over Kyle Larson, who finished third after a late-race collision with Bubba Wallace triggered the season’s first overtime period.

Larson, who also had a strong performance, highlighted his pit crew’s work and expressed satisfaction with his weekend, which included winning a pole and a stage.

“My pit crew did a really good job to get us off pit road and get us those spots to restart fourth and gain one more. I’ll take third after what could have been a lot worse there on the front stretch. Proud of the HendrickCars.com team.

“It was a good weekend for us, winning the pole, winning a stage and getting back to third. Happy about that,” said Larson.

The race saw a notable performance from several drivers, including Chase Elliott, who finished fifth, and other top ten finishers like Christopher Bell, William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Tyler Reddick. The race began on wet-weather tires due to afternoon showers, a decision that was widely praised for allowing the race to start with minimal delay.

The NASCAR Cup Series will continue with the Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Speedway, where Larson is the defending race winner. The post-race technical inspection confirmed Hamlin as the race winner without any issues, and selected cars will undergo further inspection and engine dyno testing at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina.

WATCH: 5 Things We Learned From The 2024 Toyota Owners 400

RELATED: Race results | At-track photos | 2024 NASCAR Schedule

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