NSCS: Denny Hamlin back on track with Phoenix win

Photo by: Jerry Markland/ Getty Images for NASCAR

Denny Hamlin, who had led the most laps during the Daytona 500, led the ones that counted most Sunday, as Hamlin went on to win his first career race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Hamlin took the lead on a restart, but had to sweat out his fuel mileage over the last few laps.

“We just kept working on it,” said Hamlin, who took over the points lead from Matt Kenseth, who was 13th. “Every time we worked on it, it got better.”

Sunday’s race was only the second time Hamlin has worked with new crew chief Darian Grubb in a points race.

“It’s still a learning process between me and Darian. The communication has still got a long way to go.”

Hamlin then went on to say, “but to have the success this early just tells me that once we get things down pat, it’s going to be pretty good.”

Hamlin was able to grab the lead from Kevin Harvick on the final restart of the day with 52 laps remaining.

As is often the case in auto racing, the car who dominates doesn’t always take home the checkered flag. Harvick, who is largely known as the ‘comeback’ driver in the garage, nearly caught Hamlin in the closing laps after leading 88 of the 312 laps. His attempt at victory were for not as he ran out of fuel with only two laps remaining, but still finished in the second position.

Harvick wasn’t the only one to run out of gas, as Carl Edwards also ran out only two-laps remaining in the Subway Fresh Fit 500.

Early on in the event, the car of Jimmie Johnson appeared the be the class of the field. Leading 55 laps early on, Johnson’s hopes for victory were subsided after three pit stops during a mid-race caution flag for loose lug nuts

Greg Biffle finished third and  Johnson was able to bounce back from a miserable Daytona 500 but also a troublesome race to finish fourth.

Several drivers had their fair share of troubles throughout the day.

Clint Bowyer blew two right front tires in the first 25 laps and Kasey Kahne hit the wall early in the race. And Tony Stewart was unable to start his fuel-injected Chevrolet, after shutting off his engine during the David Reutimann caution. Falling two laps down, Stewart finished 22nd.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Las Vegas, Nevada next weekend, where Carl Edwards will attempt to win his second LVMS race in a row.

Official Results: 

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Greg Biffle
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Kyle Busch
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Jeff Gordon
9. Mark Martin
10. Joey Logano
11. Juan Pablo Montoya
12. Aric Almirola
13. Matt Kenseth
14. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
15. Kurt Busch
16. Bobby Labonte
17. Carl Edwards
18. A.J. Allmendinger
19. Travis Kvapil
20. Regan Smith
21. Ryan Newman
22. Tony Stewart
23. Dave Blaney
24. Mike Bliss
25. David Ragan
26. J.J. Yeley
27. Brendan Gaughan
28. David Gilliland
29. David Stremme
30. Clint Bowyer
31. Paul Menard
32. Marcos Ambrose
33. Jeff Burton
34. Kasey Kahne
35. Landon Cassill
36. David Reutimann
37. Jamie McMurray
38. Josh Wise
39. Casey Mears
40. Joe Nemechek
41. Robby Gordon
42. Scott Riggs
43. Michael McDowell

Content edited by: Brian Wiggins/TPL

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