Photo by: Sean Gardner
Denny Hamlin held off a charging Kyle Larson in the closing laps of the Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to earn his first victory of the season.
Hamlin led 54 laps toward his first win since last September at Richmond Raceway. Hamlin regained the lead on Lap 267 after passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth.
“It’s a great feeling,” Hamlin said in Victory Lane. “I know we’ve been getting better and better as the year goes on, but definitely needed a win for the organization and for myself and just kind of get some momentum going with the playoffs coming up, so we’ve got to get going. Really, this is awesome.”
Hamlin snapped a winless streak of 28 races in a backup car after spinning in Friday’s first practice.
Larson finished second for the seventh time this season after having to start in the 39th position after his pole winning time was disallowed by NASCAR for having unapproved parts on the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.
That didn’t slow Larson down from making up ground. He charged to the front of the field and finished .509-seconds behind Hamlin.
“Finished second, but another hard fought race,” Larson said. “You know, this is the third time we’ve had to start last and drove up to second. I wish we could have been a spot better again, but really proud of my team and proud of the cars that they’re bringing for me to drive each and every week.”
Stage 1 winner Martin Truex Jr. finished third after leading a race-high of 137 laps, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.
Kyle Busch recovered from two pit road speeding penalties to finish in the 12th position. Busch 95 laps and secured the Stage 2 win.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series head to Indianapolis, Indiana for the 24th running of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 2:30 p.m ET on NBC.