Saturday, December 16, 2017
Sports

Denny Hamlin gives Joe Gibbs Racing its first NASCAR Cup win of season

LOUDON, N.H. — Denny Hamlin held off Kyle Larson over the final laps Sunday to win the Overton's 301 and send Joe Gibbs Racing to Victory Lane for the first time this season.

JGR had yet to have any of its four drivers win this season in NASCAR's Monster Energy Cup series until Hamlin took the lead with 33 laps left and held off the hard-charging Larson on the final lap.

Hamlin needed his 30th career Cup victory to secure a berth in NASCAR's version of the postseason and end a winless streak that stretched to September.

"Definitely needed a win for the organization, for myself," Hamlin said.

Larson had a sensational run from the rear of the field, where he was forced to start because he failed inspection after he won the pole. Larson lost his points lead last week and his crew chief was suspended after failing a postrace inspection at Kentucky.

Hamlin crashed the No. 11 Toyota in practice and was forced to race in a backup car. It seemed to suit him just fine at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Martin Truex was third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.

JGR won seven of the first 12 races last season and Carl Edwards was 10 laps away from a possible championship when he crashed out in the finale. Daniel Suarez replaced Edwards this season and Hamlin, Kenseth and Kyle Busch have made strong runs at the checkered flag, they just couldn't find the winning formula until New Hampshire.

"It's not from a lack of trying," said Hamlin, who scampered away from the lobster traditionally awarded to the winner in Victory Lane.

Larson's team was penalized 35 points this week, erasing what had been a one-point advantage over Truex in the driver standings. Truex, who led 137 laps, leads the standings by 38 points over Larson.

The race was stopped for 5½ minutes after a pot hole opened on the track and repairs were made.

Tampa's Aric Almirola finished 24th in his first race since he fractured a vertebra during a fiery wreck May 13 at Kanas Speedway.

INDYCAR: Josef Newgarden raced to his second Indy Toronto title in three years. Newgarden came out in front on Lap 25 after a crash by Tony Kanaan caused a caution and maintained an advantage of more than two seconds for the majority of the rest of the race. The American has five career victories. Newgarden gave Team Penske its 193rd victory, the most of any team. Alexander Rossi was second for his first podium finish of the year and best since winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500. James Hinchcliffe finished third in his hometown race for the second straight year. Scott Dixon has a three-point lead over Helio Castroneves with five races left.

F1: Lewis Hamilton slashed Sebastian Vettel's series lead to one point by winning a record-equaling fifth British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, with his title rival capitulating after a late puncture. "We were generally faultless," Hamilton said after crowd-surfing with the Silverstone fans at his home race. It was such a commanding drive that the relaxed Hamilton said he was able to watch glimpses of the race on big screens around the circuit as he led from start to finish. Vettel was third heading into the penultimate lap, but Ferrari's four-time world champion fell back into seventh after his front left tire shredded. So too did the 20-point lead Vettel held over Hamilton going into the 10th round of the 20-race season.

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Published: 12/16/17