Denny Hamlin scored his third NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Sunday with a sweeping performance in the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Even thought there was a late race charge from Chase, Hamlin was able to “hold on” and win the race.
Hamlin led a race-best 137 of the 267 laps on the 1.5-mile Florida track. His Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota was .895 seconds ahead at the drop of the checkered flag, securing his third win at Homestead and the 40th of his Cup Series career.
Chase Elliott led 27 laps and held on for second place in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet. Ryan Blaney, who led 70 laps, took third in the Team Penske No. 12 Ford. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Tyler Reddick secured his first top-five finish of his Cup Series career in fourth with Aric Almirola coming home fifth.
Hamlin started from the pole after a random draw, then swept both stages in his first race reunited with crew chief Chris Gabehart, who served a four-race suspension for a ballast violation in last month’s Coca-Cola 600.
“We’re obviously in great position. We gained seven bonus points for the Playoffs,” Hamlin said. “The driver gave away one at Bristol or else we would have four wins right now. I’ll take every win I can, let’s just keep piling them up.”
Multiple delays for lightning strikes near the speedway forced two stoppages. Just 33 laps were completed in a four-hour stretch of fits and starts, and the race didn’t find its rhythm until nearly 8 p.m. ET.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
We finally have a player with some bragging rights after a race! With over three hours of weather/lightening delays today, Dan The Numbers Cruncher was riding tall in the copilot’s seat with Denny Hamlin all day and all night! By Hamlin winning both stages and the race, The Numbers Dude racked up the max points for a race, 60 big ones!
Having an equally cool race in South Florida was Jeremy The Coach. The Coach went with William Clyde Elliott, Jr. for today’s race. It looked like he was going to give Hamlin a race for the checkered flag, unfortunately Chase could only get to Hamlin’s bumper once and was able to pull off the pass. For for the driver of the HMS #9 Chevy’s 2nd place finish, The Coach deposited 50 much needed points for this race.
Our current leader, Amber the Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head, thought that Aric Almirola could pop for the win today. He did not deliver a win to her, but did finish the day in 5th place, and put 39 points into The Cheddar Head’s account.
Meanwhile, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit was doing a ride along with Blazingly Bad Brad Keselowski, and the reward for doing such was to earn 32 points from Kes’ 10th place finish.
Rounding out the top five scoring players this week is Leon Your Benevolent and Most Humble Sheriff. The Sheriff was rooting for Martin Truex, Jr., who has done extremely well at Homestead over the last 3 years. However, Truex wasn’t able to hoist the hardware today but was able to bring it home in one piece in 10th place. That meant that The Sheriff grabbed 29 points at the end of the race.
This week there was widespread movement throughout the spectrum, small as it was. The only players who remained in their previous places are The Cheddar Head, The Cookie Mom, and Chiefy (more on this later in the post).
The duo that had the honor of being the largest movers of the week consists of Dan The Numbers Dude and Jeremy The Coach, both gentlemen (and I used that term very loosely) stepped up two (2) spots this week to reside now in 2nd and 5th, respectively.
The other group of movers consists of six players. Those six players include Snoopy Dawn, Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff, Edie The Las Vegas Super Star, Carlton The Doorman, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, as well as Carole, aka Rudy. La Bandita stepped up one place to comfortably rest in 9th place. Snoopy, The Sheriff, The Vegas Super Star, The Doorman, and Rudy all lost one position, and now hold down positions 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 9th, respectively.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
This week Carlton The Doorman showed off his expertise of driver selection. His pick of Ryan Newman only produced a single digit score of 7 points, and thus put him right in line with receiving The Crappiest Pick of The Week Award.
Once again Jim , aka Chiefy, will be residing in the newly redecorated Outhouse. During the ten week break in the action workers were busy at work refurbing the old digs. So don’t feel sorry for Chiefy being in The Outhouse for the past few weeks! I have heard that those digs have become quite elegant!
Next week NASCAR will take a little trip to Talladega.
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!