Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin won his first race of the season Sunday, taking the checkered flag in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The win qualifies Hamlin for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in spite of missing a race earlier in the season with an eye injury.
Hamlin, the in No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, led six times for 12 laps. "We really just want to win races - regardless of what implications this means for the Chase," said Hamlin post-race. "It feels good to be back in victory lane in a points paying event anyway. Couldn’t do it without this FedEx team - my pit crew has done an awesome job. They picked me up no less than 10 spots every single week and they did it again today. It just strategically saw that things were getting a little heavy there in the middle part of the race and those guys got in a wreck and we were able to avoid that and just play our cards right there and make the right strategy. Just proud of our day today."
Matt Kenseth, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, got caught up in the first “big one,” which occurred on Lap 137 when Brad Keselowski, who was six laps down but racing with the leaders, got himself loose and collected more than a dozen other cars, including Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson. Busch, in the No. 18 M&Ms Pretzel Toyota, was able to continue and finished 12th.
The Sprint Cup Series gets back on track Saturday night, May 10th, at Kansas Speedway. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by NASCAR.
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