Race Weekend Central

Denny Hamlin Leads Most Laps, Finishes 11th After Late Phoenix Spin

AVONDALE, Ariz. — It was a dominant day all-around for Toyota, and even though Denny Hamlin did not win Sunday’s (March 10) Cup race at Phoenix Raceway, he was still a force for the other drivers to reckon with.

Hamlin finished third in each of the first two stages, and his car continued to improve as the day wore on. With the no. 1 pit stall after winning the pole, Hamlin won the race off pit road under the first stage caution and restarted as the leader. After a multi-car wreck early in the final stage, he was battling for the lead with Tyler Reddick before he spun out in Turns 1 and 2.

“Just drove in too deep,” Hamlin told Frontstretch after the race. “I tried not to wreck him, so had to wreck ourselves.”

After the spin, Hamlin pitted for four tires and restarted outside the Top 20, and he made up several positions on the ensuing restart. As the laps ticked down, he continued to drive through the field and pass the cars on older tires, but he was only able to score an 11th-place finish after leading 68 laps — tied with Reddick for the most of any driver.

See also
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“I thought our car was definitely better than what we had in the past,” Hamlin said. “Just got to fine-tune it a little bit, work on it, and see if we can’t make it better.”

Beyond his spin and recovery, Hamlin also was vocal about the modified aero package that NASCAR used for the first time at Phoenix.

“It’s difficult [to pass] for sure,” Hamlin said. “The cars put off a big wake, but that’s just part of it. If you had a good car, you could make [up] ground.

“I’m not super disappointed for sure, [I’m] overall optimistic that we found something that was a little better coming to this racetrack than what we had. Just need to be a smidge better then we’ll be right there.”

Hamlin’s 11th place finish leaves him 10th in the points standings following the race at Phoenix. As the NASCAR garage heads to the concrete high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway next week, he can be reminded that that was the place where he beat everyone’s favorite driver.

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Echo

Dominant !!! What a strange choice of words. He couldn’t even lead the first lap from the pole. Didn’t lead a stage and wrecked himself. Dominant. Great article.

DoninAjax

I’m sure Denny, deep down, felt he deserved to win. Again.

Bill B

Well, Toyota was dominant. Hamlin, not so much.

Echo

Your 1st race as a proud reporter for front stretch and you write about Hamlin !!!

Shayne

Must have drawn the short straw.

Old School

Same old Denny; drove in too deep. I’m sure he spun it instead of slamming someone. LOL!

DoninAjax

He was thinking of his victory speech and forgot about driving the car.

Bill B

Without a doubt, the best moment of the race. Haw Haw,

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