Race Weekend Central

Denny Hamlin Wins Kansas Cup Race With Last-Lap Pass

In Sunday’s (May 7) AdventHealth 400, a race that saw a record set for the most lead changes in a 400-mile event on an intermediate track, Denny Hamlin claimed victory by passing Kyle Larson for the win in the first last-lap pass in the history of Kansas Speedway. The win was Hamlin’s fourth at Kansas, but his first in the Cup Series since the Coca-Cola 600 last spring.

After a caution on lap 214, most of the field took their last set of fresh tires. Larson pulled away on the restart, but Hamlin stayed in the tracks of the California driver and made his move on the final lap. Hamlin’s No. 11 made contact with Larson, causing the No. 5 to hit the wall. Larson was able to hold on to finish second.

“So proud of this whole FedEx team,” Hamlin said to FOX Sports from the start-finish line. “I got position on him there and I was trying to side-draft him, clipped his left rear there. Glad he was able to at least finish.”

William Byron came back from two laps down to finish third, Bubba Wallace ran fourth and Ross Chastain ended the day fifth. Joey Logano won stage two en route to a sixth-place result and Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 10.

After the race, Noah Gragson confronted Chastain after an on-track issue in the middle stages. Officials had to separate the two drivers after Gragson grabbed Chastain’s firesuit and Chastain threw a punch. The fallout even interrupted runner-up Larson’s post-race interview.

“Obviously he was side-drafting really aggressively, like he would” Larson said, before he was distracted by two fellow Chevrolet drivers throwing hands. “He was […] touching me, it felt like, it just had me kind of out of control.”

Then his attention was drawn to the monitor: “I wish we could see what’s going on here, I guess.”

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Hendrick Motorsports teammates Byron and Larson led the field to the green flag. Larson, Chastain and Reddick battled for the lead after Byron nearly spun out in turn two on lap 3. On lap 5, Reddick got into the back of Larson spinning him out to bring out the first caution.

NASCAR Kansas Speedway 1 Race Results

Reddick led the field to the green on lap 10. On lap 29, last week’s winner Truex Jr. took the lead from Reddick. After green flag pit stops, Hamlin took over the lead.

Hamlin and Truex would swap the lead before Hamlin grabbed it back with eight laps to go and won stage one.

Hamlin won the race off of pit road and led the field to the green for stage two. On lap 107, Austin Cindric hit the wall in turn one and lost his right-front wheel in the process, bringing out the third caution.

Wallace took the lead after winning the race off pit road and led until Truex returned to the front on lap 119. A caution for Aric Almirola‘s spin in turn 2 brought the field to pit road. Larson won the race off of pit road and led until Wallace was able to pass him back.

Christopher Bell crashed on lap 157, bringing out the sixth caution flag. A majority of the leaders pitted with less than 10 laps to go in stage two. Logano and Michael McDowell stayed out and Logano held off Mcdowell to win stage two under caution, after Kyle Busch wrecked on the backstretch.

Logano and McDowell pitted, along with others who stayed out at the previous caution. The switch-up handed the lead to Larson for the restart with 98 laps to go. On lap 186, Chase Elliott took the lead from his teammate. A caution for Harrison Burton on lap 190 brought the field to pit road once again, with Larson being the first car out of the pits.

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Truex and Larson swapped the lead multiple times during the next 15 laps, before Larson pulled away. A caution for Gragson (after the Chastain contact) created more pit stops, allowing team to take their final set of fresh tires. Corey LaJoie restarted with the lead with 56 laps to go. Byron took the lead before the caution waved again.

A restart with 48 laps to go gave Larson the lead, but Hamlin reeled him back in and made his move on the final lap to win his 49th career NASCAR Cup Series race.

The NASCAR Cup Series continues next week with the Goodyear 400 from Darlington Raceway. You can see the race on Sunday (May 14) at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

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Echo

Yep Hamlin made his move alright. And your right, it was the last lap when Hamlin hit Larson and put his nose in the wall. No sense for Larson to say a word. Everyone has seen it a dozen times, including Nascar.

gbvette

Apparently not everyone. I think it was Busch that said the incident was “uncharacteristic” of Hamlin. My first thought was where has Busch been the last 5 or 10 years, but then I realized he was probably just covering for his car owner.

Tim S

Still having the effect of that concussion sounds like.

Iceman202290

How long before Larson has had enough, dudes just been getting run over this year.

Echo

I’ve been wondering the same thing. Larson is good enough he can put anyone in the wall and not hurt his car. Do it.

Bill B

Maybe Denny will brag about how he intentionally put Larson in the wall on his podcast.
At some point Larson needs to return the favor and if the positions are reversed in the future, I’m sure he’ll have no problem making it happen.

Tim S

That wasn’t a last lap pass. It was a last lap punt.

Kurt Smith

I gotta give a shoutout to William Byron’s team. I thought they were out of it and they bounced back and actually could have contended for a win. That was pretty cool.

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