Sport Clips Team Finishes Third in Southern 500September 8, 2015
Denny Hamlin finished third in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, leading three times for 57 laps in the #11 Sport Clips Toyota en route to his third-straight top-five result in the event won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards.
Hamlin lined up third for the race’s final restart with 10 laps remaining and dove to the inside of Edwards in Turn 1. Edwards cleared Hamlin, who fell in line in second, as the two ran just a handful of car lengths apart as the laps wound down.
Hamlin made one last effort in Turn 3 on the final lap, but to no avail, and was consequently passed by runner-up Brad Keselowski before the checkered flag. Hamlin started sixth in the caution-filled race (an event record 18 yellows), and showed his strength early and on long runs.
The team never got to show its full hand on a long green flag run, and with fresh tires so important on the worn surface, track position and fast pit stops became key. Hamlin came into the pits in fifth during the final caution.
The finish moved Hamlin up one spot to eighth in the NASCAR standings with one regular season race remaining on the schedule, Sept. 12 at Richmond International Raceway.