TALLADEGA, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin captured the checkered flag in overtime at Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hamlin narrowly beat Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto by 0.086-seconds to win his 44th career win, which ties him with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott for 18th on the all-time Cup Series win list.
“We just played the strategy and the numbers game to run in the back until we were locked in,” said Hamlin. “This one is unexpected to say the least, but proud of this whole FedEx team, Toyota and everyone at JGR for bringing great race cars.”
The victory did not come without some controversy. Hamlin drove below the double yellow line in turn 4 passing both the No. 24 of William Byron and the No. 21 of DiBenedetto in the process.
NASCAR reviewed the finish and declared Hamlin the winner but five minutes later penalized DiBenedetto for forcing Byron below the yellow line. DiBenedetto went from finishing 2nd to 21st. The series also penalized the No. 9 of Chase Elliott for going below the double yellow line.
An hour after the initial review and subsequent penalties, NASCAR rescinded the penalty to Elliott and penalized the No. 17 of Chris Buescher for forcing the No. 9 below the line. The penalty dropped Buescher from 6th to 22nd. Elliott was credited with a 5th place finish.
Ten minutes later NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller explained the sanctioning body’s position.
“It was pretty clear-cut,” said Miller. “The 21 (DiBenedetto) hung a left, drove those guys (Byron and Hamlin) below the line. We called that twice on the 22 (Joey Logano) car during the race, so nothing different there. On the 24 (Byron) and the 11 (Hamlin) being down there, I mean, in our judgement there were down there to avoid a wreck.”
I don’t have many words…just a tough week and that’s at the top of the heartbreak list. Our time will come. Thank you all so much for the support ❤️
— Matt DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) October 5, 2020
The revised Top-10 finishers were as follows:
- Erik Jones
- Ty Dillon
- Ryan Newman
- Tyler Reddick
- John Hunter Nemechek
- Brennan Poole
- Ryan Preece
The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Bank of America ROVAL 400 on Sunday, October 11, 2020 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is the final race in the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs.
Martin Truex Jr Victorious At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Martin Truex Jr passed teammate Denny Hamlin on lap 485 and went on the win the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was Truex’s second of 2021 and 29th of his Cup Series Career.
“He (Hamlin) started getting tight, our car was getting better and better,” said Truex of the late race pass. “We were able to take advantage of it. Really happy. For whatever reason our car really turned on when the lights went down. Always good when a plan comes together and it works out the way you hoped it would.”
Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott finished second, his seventh top-10 finish in 13-races at Martinsville and fourth top-10 of 2021.
“Really, really hard-fought second actually for us,” said Elliott. “We were not great, but had some, I guess our strong suit was kind of early on in the run, then really faded hard, too hard there in the latter part of a run. But we never got one of those super long runs, which is probably a good thing for us because we were struggling on that end. But, yeah, proud we could fight back.”
Hamlin settled for third after leading the most laps in the race (267).
“Had a really good car on the short run all day,” said Hamlin. “Got great restarts. Was fast for 25, 30 laps. Then it seemed like guys would start catching us. Unfortunately it was just too many laps there at the end that we couldn’t hold those guys off.”
Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson finished fourth and fifth respectively, giving HMS three cars in the top 5.
The race featured 18-lead changes among 7-drivers and was slowed by 15-caution flags for 105-laps.
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is April 18, 2020 at Richmond Raceway.
Josh Berry Gets First Career Xfinity Series Win At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josh Berry passed Ty Gibbs for the lead on lap 223 and stayed out front for the final 27-laps to get his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in the rain-delayed Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was the first career victory for Berry in 13 Xfinity Series starts.
“Man, I wanted to win so bad for these guys,” said Berry referring to his No. 8 JR Motorsports team. “They’re such a great group. I knew this would be a good opportunity to win. (Crew chief) Taylor (Moyer) called a perfect race. The car was good, and we just kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end. I was struggling a little bit with wheel-hop. This is just unbelievable.”
Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson finished second and picked up a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, which eased the pain of being the runner-up.
“One hundred thousand dollars richer,” said Gragson. “Great 1-2 finish for our team at JR Motorsports. I really wanted to win there, but I was having to protect the bottom to keep the guys behind me from moving me out of the way. I couldn’t open up my arc the way I needed to and make speed.”
Daniel Hemric finished in third position followed by Gibbs, who faded to a fourth place finish. Gibbs’ teammate Brandon Jones finished fifth. Jones was the leader Friday night when storms red-flagged the event after completing 91-laps.
The race featured 13-lead changes among 9-drivers. The race was slowed by 12-caution flags for 75-laps.
The next race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is April 24, 2021 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Mother Nature Wins At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mother Nature is throwing a wrench into this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series Schedules at Martinsville Virginia.
Friday’s Xfinity race is under a red flag following 92-laps of the scheduled 250-lap event after rain showers put an end to NASCAR’s attempt to get the event finished. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones is scored as the leader of the race.
NASCAR has rescheduled the remainder of the event for Sunday at Noon ET.
The Cup Series race was red flagged on lap 43 because of showers. JGR’s Denny Hamlin is scored as the leader. Hamlin has led 38-laps. Team Penske’s Joey Logano started on the pole position and led the other laps.
NASCAR will restart the event on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Per NASCAR rules, an event is considered official after half of the scheduled distance has been completed.
Both races will be broadcast live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.