Hamlin breaks through with win at Michigan

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
BROOKLYN, Mich.—With great work in the pits when it counted most, opportunistic Denny Hamlin held off charging Matt Kenseth to win Sunday’s Heluva Good 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

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Hamlin beat Kenseth to the finish line by .281 seconds, with Kyle Busch following in third. Paul Menard finished fourth, and series points leader Carl Edwards was fifth.

 

The victory was Hamlin’s first of the season and the 17th of his career.

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Hamlin won the race off pit road when the lead-lap cars stopped on Lap 192 of 200, after Dale Earnhardt Jr. slammed the outside wall to bring out the fifth caution of the race.

A caution on Lap 158—the result of an accident involving Juan Pablo Montoya and Andy Lally in Turn 4—interrupted a cycle of green-flag pit stops and scrambled the running order for a restart on Lap 164.

Edwards passed Kenseth and Busch for the lead on the restart lap, with Hamlin in pursuit.

Jimmie Johnson continued to have problems with Michigan, one of four active Cup tracks where the five-time defending champion hasn’t won a race. Johnson spun off Turn 2 just eight laps into the race, flattened three of his four tires and broke the sway bar on the No. 48 Chevrolet.

Ultimately, Johnson lost two laps as his crew repaired the car. He salvaged a 27th-place finish but lost most of the ground he had gained on Edwards last week at Pocono.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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