Denny Hamlin Wins His First Road Course Race
Denny Hamlin took the lead when Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch overshot the first turn on a restart with 10 laps left and held on the rest of the way to win Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, his first road course win and second victory of the season. Martin Truex, Jr. challenged Hamlin on the final lap and was setting himself up for a pass until Keselowski tapped him from behind and sent him spinning.
While Truex and Keselowski were tangled up, last year's winner Joey Logano took advantage to pass both cars to come in second ahead of Keselowski. 2014 Watkins Glen winner A-J Allmendinger came in fourth followed by Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch. Afterward Allmendinger apologized for knocking Kyle Larson off the track and into the inside barrier just before the finish line.
Hamlin revealed after the race he drove with severe back spasms and said he had doubts whether he could drive. He said it's something that hits him every few months and this time when he woke up in the morning he could hardly move.
Hamlin's victory marked the second year in a row the Daytona 500 winner won at the Glen. Joey Logano accomplished the feat last year.
Jimmie Johnson finished last for the first time in his career. His car was destroyed in a four-car wreck on lap 53. Danica Patrick led 11 laps, the most of her Sprint Cup career. Her previous high was seven laps, twice at Talladega. Jeff Gordon filled in for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for the fourth straight race while Jr. recovers from a concussion. Still no word on when he might be back.
Sprint Cup drivers take next weekend off before heading to Bristol for racing under the lights on Saturday, August 20th.