Denny Hamlin darted away from the field on Sunday’s final restart and then held his ground over the last four laps to win at Watkins Glen International, notching his second victory of the season and clinching a spot in the post-season Chase. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver started sixth and led just ten laps all day … but they were the ten that counted most, at the end of the race. Martin Truex Junior closed in on Hamlin’s rear bumper on the final lap. But Brad Keselowski – who led a race-high twenty-eight laps – pushed Truex out of the way in the final turn and motored on to grab third place behind Hamlin and Joey Logano, who took advantage of the contact between Truex and Keselowski to advance two spots. A-J Allmendinger finished fourth with Tony Stewart completing the top five. Pole sitter Carl Edwards led the first twenty-five laps but none after that and labored to a fifteenth-place finish … With his third-place run, Keselowski unseated Kevin Harvick at the top of the regular-season point standings. Harvick was involved in a late-race accident Sunday that left him with a thirty-second-place finish. He had been Number-1 since a fifteenth-place finish on May 1st at Talladega Superspeedway lifted him into the top spot … Stewart, who won the season’s first road race at Sonoma, California, settled for fifth place in his bid to become the first driver to sweep both road-course events in a single season since Kyle Busch doubled up in 2008.
TAG SEARCH RESULTS FOR: "Cheez-It 355 at The Glen"
Next Stop Is Watkins Glen International for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen. With just five races remaining in the regular season, it appears that twelve of the sixteen spots on The Chase Grid will be filled by race-winning drivers: Matt Kenseth, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Junior, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher. That would leave four post-season spots available based on the point standings. Jamie McMurray currently holds a nine-point lead over Kyle Larson, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, in the fight for what would be the final “playoff” spot … Six drivers are presently in the mix for those final four spots: Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, rookie Chase Elliott, McMurray, Larson and Kasey Kahne … Jeff Gordon will make the eight hundredth start of his career at the Glen and his third in the Number-88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, still subbing for Dale Earnhardt Junior who remains sidelined while recovering from a concussion.
Stay updated, sign up for our newsletter.