Raybestos brakes help Denny Hamlin to a big win at the AAA Texas 500
Hamlin now claims the top spot in the point standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship with just two races remaining in the season.
The victory was Hamlin’s eighth of the season and moved him into first place in the standings. In addition to Hamlin’s win, Raybestos brakes helped Joey Logano complete another strong run to earn an impressive fourth-place finish; giving him another top-five finish and his fourth straight top-ten finish.
Hamlin now holds a 33-point lead over second-place Jimmie Johnson, while Kevin Harvick is third, 59 points back of Hamlin. Kyle Busch dropped to seventh in the standings following today’s results, while Joey Logano continued his impressive climb up to 16th.
The current standings after eight races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship are as follows:
Denny Hamlin (6325)
Jimmie Johnson (-33)
Kevin Harvick (-59)
Carl Edwards (-317)
Matt Kenseth (-325)
Jeff Gordon (-331)
Kyle Busch (-339)
Tony Stewart (-363)
Greg Biffle (-372)
Clint Bowyer (-397)
Kurt Busch (-435)
Jeff Burton (-473)
Hamlin, who entered the race just 14 points behind first-place Jimmie Johnson, started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota in the 30th position. Hamlin was not discouraged despite the poor starting position after winning the spring race from the 29th spot earlier this year. With the confidence gained from that victory, Hamlin once again ascended through the field and found himself in the top 10 by lap 60 and inside the top five just a few laps later.
Hamlin completed a run all the way to the front of the field when he took the lead on lap 111 as the field cycled through green flag pit stops. From that point he settled in and ran near the top-five through much of the race as crew chief Mike Ford and the FedEx team made the necessary adjustments to the No. 11 Camry. A caution on lap 300 brought the leaders down pit road two laps later and a two-tire change put Hamlin back on the track in fourth to restart on lap 305.
One lap later, Hamlin claimed the lead and pulled away from the field until the next caution came out on lap 328. The decision was made to remain out and when the race restarted, Kenseth briefly moved to the front, but Hamlin reclaimed the lead tremendously and drove on to victory lane.
Meanwhile, Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the 20th position and quickly climbed through the field as he moved into the top 10 by lap 60. Logano’s Camry continued to improve with great adjustments by crew chief Greg Zipadelli and The Home Depot crew who perfected the handling of his car.
A phenomenal pit stop by the team on lap 131 put Logano out front of the field for the race restart on lap 137, and although he gave way to Greg Biffle a couple of laps into the run, he got back to the front again on the next round of pit stops.
Biffle proved strong on the restart once again, but patience continued to pay off for Logano as he waited for the car to come to him and regained the lead on lap 175. He held the lead through the next round of pit stops and spent the rest of the day battling for the lead inside the top five as Logano led six different times during the race for a total of 30 laps.
Next week, Hamlin’s confidence in Raybestos brakes will remain in every turn as he continues his Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Series Championship continues next Sunday, November 14 from Phoenix International Raceway. The race begins at 3 PM ET with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with the pre-race show at 2 PM ET