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Hamlin wins fifth of 2019; Hollywood Casino 400 recap

The spoils went to Denny Hamlin who was the victor of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, leading 153 laps en route to his 36th career win.

The win was Hamlin’s fifth of the season and now makes 2019 his winningest season since 2012 when he won two races. This comes just one season removed from his lone winless season.

Hamlin started the race 23rd while Daniel Hemric and David Ragan were on the front row to start. Hemric led the opening few laps before Kyle Larson took the lead on Lap 5. It wouldn’t last for long as Brad Keselowski would pass Larson Lap 7, but Larson would pass him back on Lap 9. 

Larson led 60 of the first 76 laps. On the 76th lap, the first caution flew for Ryan Newman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr having an incident in turn four. 

During the first restart, with three laps to go in Stage 1, Ryan Blaney and Clint Bowyer would restart on the front row, with Blaney as the leader. Neither would lay claim to victory in Stage 1, as that would go to Joey Logano, but Blaney would finish 7th in the stage. Bowyer, however, would end up 21st in the stage.

The Stage 1 top ten finishers were as follows: Joey Logano (1 Playoff point), Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Under the Stage 1 caution, Chase Elliott would take the lead but lose it to Daniel Suarez on the restart. Suarez led six laps before Martin Truex Jr took the lead on Lap 93 to lead the next 33 laps. In those 33 laps, a caution flew for Kyle Larson making contact with Joey Gase on Lap 117. Gase spun but Larson was able to keep going unscathed.

Denny Hamlin would take the lead on Lap 126 and would win Stage 2. 

The rest of Stage 2’s top 10 finishers: Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola. 

Hamlin didn’t have an easy stroll to victory, however. On Lap 254, Ryan Blaney blew a tire in turn two which brought out the fifth caution of the race. Hamlin pitted for two tires when many of his competitors took four.

Hamlin held on to the lead but a caution fell for Darrell Wallace Jr and Matt Tifft wrecking off of turn 2 with three laps to go, which set up the first overtime attempt. 

The first attempt saw Hamlin narrowly miss getting the white flag due to a five-car wreck that ensued on the frontstretch. On the second attempt, however, Hamlin was able to hold off Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch to win Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

The remaining top ten finishers were Kurt Busch, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr, Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.

Byron, Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Alex Bowman were eliminated after Sunday’s race. Keselowski entered the race 20 points above the cutline and missed the next round by three points. Chase Elliott was able to overcome a 22 point deficit to make the next round by three points.

There were seven cautions for 32 laps and 15 lead changes among 12 drivers. The race was extended by 10 laps due to overtime. 

The next race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is Sunday October 27 at Martinsville Speedway for the First Data 500 (3 P.M. EST, NBCSN). 


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