Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hamlin wins NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Denny Hamlin wasn't about to get shoved aside again.

Ignoring what he described as the worst pain he has ever felt in a race, Hamlin prevailed in a four-lap dash to the checkered flag Sunday to win the wreck-filled Cheez-It 355 at the Glen at newly paved Watkins Glen International.

It's the first road course win of Hamlin's NASCAR Sprint Cup career and atoned for his stunning loss on the road course at Sonoma in June, when he was beaten by Tony Stewart with a bang on the last turn.

"It's very hard to win these races," Hamlin said. "I only made one mistake at Sonoma, and I didn't win."

Hamlin was virtually flawless Sunday and was able to conserve enough fuel at the end, thanks to eight cautions for 20 laps. The race also had two red flag stoppages for 30 minutes. "We executed perfectly. Didn't make any mistakes on pit road," Hamlin said. "Hoping for those caution laps that we needed. That allowed us to make it on fuel."

That Hamlin was behind the wheel of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was in doubt before the race. He was in pain when he awoke.

"Knew I was in pretty big trouble," said Hamlin, who has had two knee surgeries in his career. "I was thinking under the (last) red flag let's get this over with so I can get out of this car."

The race was shaping up as another duel between Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in the closing laps. But a rash of late cautions shuffled Busch back.

Keselowski restarted with the lead with 25 laps to go in the 90-lap race, and Busch stalked him in second as the leaders began turning the fastest laps of the race around the 2.45-mile layout with the end in sight.

The sixth caution flew on Lap 78 and erased a 5-second lead the two leaders had built over Hamlin, Martin Truex and Joey Logano. Keselowski lost the lead on the restart when both he and Busch overdrove the first turn, and Hamlin sneaked past to take the lead before another caution flew.

Logano finished second, and Kese­lowski, AJ Allmendinger, Stewart and Busch completed the top six.

DRIVER CRITICAL: Sprint Car driver Bryan Clauson remained hospitalized in critical condition a day after a harrowing crash in the Belleville (Kan.) Midget Nationals USAC midget race. Clauson was airlifted to a hospital in Lincoln, Neb., after the Saturday night crash. Clauson is considered the nation's top short-track dirt-car driver. The 27-year-old Indiana resident has started three Indianapolis 500s and was a development driver for Chip Ganassi in NASCAR, where he competed in 26 races over the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He also spent several seasons driving for Tony Stewart's sprint car team. Stewart, speaking after Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, did not sound promising about Clauson's recovery. "It sucks when it's anybody in racing, it's hard when you lose them, but it's even worse when they're somebody as close to you as Bryan was," Stewart said.

Gearhead stats

Winner's average speed: 89.513 mph

Time of race: 2 hours, 27 minutes, 48 seconds

Margin of victory: 2.065 seconds

Caution flags: 8 for 20 laps

Lead changes: 9 among 8 drivers.

Lap leaders: C. Edwards 1-25; M. Truex Jr. 26; J. Logano 27-33; D. Patrick 34-44; Kyle Busch 45-48; B. Keselowski 49; Kurt Busch 50-52; J. Logano 53; B. Keselowski 54-80; D. Hamlin 81-90

Sprint Cup points

Through 22 of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, make the 10-race Chase for the Championship:

Driver PointsBack

Brad Keselowski**** 727—

Kevin Harvick* 718 9

Kurt Busch* 689 38

Kyle Busch**** 670 57

Carl Edwards** 653 74

Joey Logano* 652 75

Denny Hamlin** 620 107

Martin Truex* 612 115

Matt Kenseth** 600 127

Jimmie Johnson** 578 149

* Wins

Up next

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, 8 p.m. Aug. 20, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway TV/radio: NBCSN; 102.5-FM

Hamlin wins NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen 08/07/16 [Last modified: Sunday, August 7, 2016 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrepectful fans

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by Desean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  2. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived

    Bucs

    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  3. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  4. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)