NASCAR: Denny Hamlin gets win No. 3 of 2024 at Dover

DOVER, DELAWARE - APRIL 28: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Mavis Tire Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Würth 400 at Dover International Speedway on April 28, 2024 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin got his third win of 2024 as he held off Kyle Larson on Sunday at Dover.

Hamlin took the lead on lap 329 of the 400-lap race after the final restart and never relinquished it, though Larson gave him a run for the win in the final 15 laps. Larson got within a half-second of Hamlin as the checkered flag approached, but Hamlin kept him at bay by moving up and taking Larson’s line away.

After winning the pole for the race on Saturday, fourth-place finisher Kyle Busch said that NASCAR’s current Cup Series car was better at playing defense than it was at playing offense. Busch’s words were prescient on Sunday as Hamlin was able to blunt Larson’s forward momentum in the corners by driving in the same groove Larson was.

Larson caught Hamlin by moving up toward the wall in the corners of the concrete oval as Hamlin was running the bottom of the track. But Larson’s forward march stopped when Hamlin moved his car off the bottom groove and ahead of Larson.

The victory is the 54th of Hamlin’s career and ties him for 12th on the all-time Cup Series wins list with Lee Petty, the father of seven-time champion Richard Petty.

“It’s just fantastic, I couldn’t hold Lee Petty’s helmet,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin has established himself as one of the best Cup Series drivers ever despite his lack of a Cup Series title. He’s had a strong chance at the title on what seems like an annual basis for the past 15 years and he’s once again positioned for late-season disappointment or long-awaited glory in 2024.

Hamlin’s three victories through 11 races this season are tied for the most in the Cup Series with Daytona 500 winner William Byron.

Thanks to Larson’s win at Las Vegas earlier this season, Chase Elliott’s win at Texas and a win from Hamlin’s teammate Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports drivers have combined to win nine races so far this season. There’s a long way to go before the season finale at Phoenix in November, but it won’t be surprised at all if the four drivers competing for the title are all from either Hendrick or JGR.

Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. finished third between Larson and Busch and Elliott was fifth. Truex appeared to have a car capable of winning on Sunday but he was slowed slightly by damage on the front of his car. Truex hit the back bumper of Alex Bowman on a restart and the contact caused a separation to form between the grille of the car and the splitter.

The last caution of the day came for a wreck that involved Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell and William Byron.

All three drivers were on the way to top-15 finishes before Wallace went spinning after contact from Zane Smith. He then collected Byron and Bell and all three drivers failed to finish.

1. Denny Hamlin

2. Kyle Larson

3. Martin Truex Jr.

4. Kyle Busch

5. Chase Elliott

6. Noah Gragson

7. Ryan Blakey

8. Alex Bowman

9. Daniel Henric

10. Ty Gibbs

11. Tyler Reddick

12. Ross Chastain

13. AJ Allmendinger

14. Josh Berry

15. Austin Cindric

16. Joey Logano

17. Chris Buescher

18. Daniel Suarez

19. Chase Briscoe

20. John Hunter Nemechek

21. Corey LaJoie

22. Carson However

23. Justin Haley

24. Zane Smith

25. Corey Heim

26. Harrison Burton

27. Austin Dillon

28. Jimmie Johnson

29. Kaz Grala

30. Brad Keselowski

31. Todd Gilliland

32. Bubba Wallace

33. William Byron

34. Christopher Bell

35. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

36. Michael McDowell

37. Ryan Preece

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