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NASCAR CUP at Kansas: Hamlin scores his fifth win of the season

NASCAR Cup Series Super Start Batteries 400 at Kansas Speedway
Hamlin leads the most laps, wins the race

Kansas City, KS, July 23/20 (GRW): Unlike last weekend, where a pair of young drivers lucked into the lead and then had enough speed to convert this lucky turn of events into a one-two finish when the other cars that had looked like being the winners were trapped well back by a late-race yellow, this time it came down to another battle between Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, with Hamlin taking the honours.

In the first two Stages, the Penske trio of Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney had looked like the ones to beat. Logano had started from the front row (as determined by the draw) and he led the race for the first 27 laps of the 267-lap race, looking like a strong contender for the win. But a wheel rolled loose during the very first caution which was the competition caution at the 25-lap mark. He was sent to the back and, while he was able to recover from this, he brought out the race’s seventh caution on lap 177 when his left-front tire failed and he crashed heavily into the outside wall, ending his race.

Meanwhile Ryan Blaney was making a strong showing and looking like a potential race winner. Near the end of the second Stage he moved into the lead but he only led for 14 laps before his teammate Brad Keselowski caught and passed him for the lead, going on to win the second Stage.

PHOTO NCS KS LoganoBlaney 072320Joey Logano leads his teammate Ryan Blaney during the Super Start Batteries 400. Early in the race, both of these drivers had strong performances, only to have troubles. (Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

These two Penske drivers continued to run near the front and, after the ninth caution which came on lap 196, Blaney was running in third place behind William Byron and Hamlin – but then Keselowski came up and passed them all to take the lead. Soon after, both Blaney and Kyle Busch had tire problems and had to pit under green, falling back in the pack.

Byron, who was on older tires than his competition managed to hang onto the lead through the final two cautions, the second ending on lap 245 with just twelve laps remaining in the race. Although Byron and Alex Bowman lined up on the front row for this restart, they were both soon overwhelmed by the Hamlin-Harvick pair. At first Harvick had the advantage over Hamlin but, on lap 255, Hamlin got past to take over the lead. After this, Harvick could not keep up the pressure and he was passed by Keselowski and then Martin Truex as they chased Hamlin down.

Hamlin held off Keselowski by a half-second margin at the checker, Truex was third, Hamlin had slipped to fourth and Erik Jones was fifth.

“I don’t know if we had the best car — we definitely had a top-three car all day,” said Hamlin, who has now won two straight races at Kansas. “We just went and got it there at the end. I saw the 4 (Harvick) getting loose, and usually when you’re loose, you’re not able to run up high, and that was a benefit for us to be able to get that momentum going … We’ve had a rough three weeks — we were leading at Indy when we blew a tire, but it seems like we’re really hitting on all cylinders right now.”

(With notes from the NASCAR Wire Service)

• Click Here for the results of this NASCAR Cup race at Kansas

• The next NASCAR Cup race will be the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, on Sunday, August 2.


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