Denny Hamlin, Darian Grubb, and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 11 Fed Ex Freight Toyota team flexed their collective muscle by dominating the Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire International Speedway.
Starting 32nd for the race held on Sunday afternoon in Loudon, NH, Hamlin plowed through the field and took the lead around lap 100. He held fast to that lead the rest of the day (193 laps led) with the team executing flawless pit stops and great strategy that led to their fifth win of the 2012 season and the first for the Chase this year.
This was the 100th win for JGR and the 202nd win for the No. 11 car.
Jimmie Johnson placed second in Sunday’s race. The finish was strong enough to propel the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion to the top of the leaderboard in points.
Jeff Gordon, pole sitter for Sunday’s race, bounced back a bit from last week’s frustrating finish with a solid third place run. Clint Bowyer took fourth. Kasey Kahne, winner at New Hampshire earlier this season, took fifth.
Brad Keselowski finished sixth. Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart came in seventh. Non-Chase racer and teammate of Hamlin’s Joey Logano brought home eighth. Brian Vickers, part-time driver in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 car, earned ninth. Ryan Newman, teammate of Stewart, brought up the top-ten.
As mentioned, Johnson currently has the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points. He has a one point lead over Keselowski. Hamlin is only six points behind Keselowski. Stewart is in fourth and Kahne is in fifth.
Bowyer is in sixth for another week. Dale Earnhardt Jr. who finished 13th in the race, maintains the seventh spot. Kevin Harvick improved his position by two with his 11th place finish that landed him in eighth. Greg Biffle fell one spot to ninth after his 18th place finish in the race. Martin Truex Jr. finished 17th in the race and dropped one spot to tenth. Matt Kenseth, 14th in the race, and Gordon, third, are still 11th and 12th respectively in the points.
Chase Race No. 3 is happening at Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400. The race will be run on Sunday, September 30th. The broadcast will be on ESPN at begins at 1pm EST.
Stay tuned for the race and then tune in here for my AAA 400 Race Recap.
Candice Smith can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s.
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