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Denny Hamlin Corrals the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin Wins at Texas

The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday gave truth to the saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas”, with 26 lead changes and 13 different leaders. Through it all, the mess did sort itself out with Denny Hamlin claiming victory. This win did not come without much adversity for Hamlin, the driver of the FedEx #11 Joe Gibbs Toyota Camry, with not one but two pit road penalties throughout the day. Hamlin’s car showed speed early but never got out front until lap 156. Having to make a pit stop Hamlin only stayed out front for 17 laps on his first stint of the lead. All in all Denny Hamlin led 45 laps en route to the victory. This is Hamlin’s second victory of the 2019 season with his first being the Daytona 500.

The Top 10

The top 10 at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 had a few more Chevrolet’s in it then in the last few races. Ford (4), Toyota (3), Chevy (3)

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Clint Bowyer
  3. Daniel Suarez
  4. Erik Jones
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. William Byron
  7. Aric Almirola
  8. Kevin Harvick
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. Kyle Busch

Accidents

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson’s right front after crashing into Turn 2 wall. Photo Credit: NASCAR.com

Only three on track accidents brought out the caution flag in the race, with a total of five cautions all together to accommodate the stage cautions. Turn two was calamity corner as every accident occurred there.  Early into the race on la,p 16 Erik Jones spun in the center of turn two. The spin collected no one as Jones #20 just got loose and spun. The accident happened right in front of the favorite to win the race, Joe Gibbs teammate, Kyle Busch. Kyle Larson #42 annihilated the wall in turn two on lap 150. Larson’s Credit One Bank Chevrolet burst into flames on pit road before being put out. Larson was able to get out of the car safely, but he and his car were done for the day. Rookie Daniel Hemric also had trouble in turn two ending his day 10 laps down.

Takeaways from Texas

After a dominating set of practices and grabbing a Busch pole, Jimmie Johnson looked to be all the way back after a long hiatus. He and Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Chase Elliott qualified first, second and third respectively. Johnson and Byron finished in the top 10 and Elliott finished just outside the top 10. The Hendrick Chevys, along with all the Chevy teams, have not been front runners since 2017. With a strong run at a 1.5 mile track, the manufacturer as a whole is sure to be happy with a good day. Johnson ended up leading 60 laps en route to a 5th place finish. Good to see the bow ties have a great weekend!

Jimmie Johnson
FORT WORTH, TX – MARCH 29: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the pole award. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Two dominant race teams in the sport are Joe Gibbs racing and Penske Racing. The last time a driver from one of these teams has not won a race was last season’s fall race at Texas when Stewart-Haas driver Kevin Harvick got the win. These two teams look to be unstoppable because they are. Joe Gibbs is led by early champion favorite Kyle Busch, along with Denny Hamlin a two-time winner in 2019, Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. Penske on the other hand is led by veterans Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, followed by young gun Ryan Blaney. The two teams have a strong hold on the sport right now and there does not look to be anyone that can beat them in the current state of the sport.

 

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