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Denny Hamlin is now the winningest NASCAR Cup Series driver without a title

BRISTOL, TENN. — Denny Hamlin earned his 51st NASCAR Cup Series win and passed Junior Johnson on the all-time wins list.

Hamlin now has the most wins of any Cup Series driver without a championship.

From 1965-1978, Junior Johnson held this distinction as he earned 50 wins but didn’t claim the big trophy. Then, in late-1978, Bobby Allison earned his 50th career win at Charlotte and 51st in Ontario, Cali., putting him ahead of Johnson.

Allison held that mark until 1983. That year, Allison moved to 79 career wins and, by season’s end, his first championship – giving the distinction back to Johnson.

Junior Johnson held on as the winningest driver without a Cup Series championship until Hamlin won Saturday night at Bristol.

Denny Hamlin has been on a tear lately. Last week at Kansas, Hamlin held a 3-second lead over Tyler Reddick with seven laps to go. Then, a caution fell and pushed him back to second in overtime.

Hamlin also swept the stages in the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington. However, a loose wheel caused him to finish outside of the top-20.

Should Hamlin win the Cup Series title this year, it will come in his 18th full-time season – just like Bobby Allison when he earned his first Cup title in 1983.

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