Two Toyota drivers battled it out in the closing laps at The Last Colosseum as Denny Hamlin came out the victor in his fourth NASCAR Cup Series win this season. With 11 laps to go, Hamlin passed fellow Camry driver Matt DiBenedetto for the lead, going on to cross the finish line for his second-career victory at Bristol.
“Between my spotter and the crew chief, they just stayed on me to not get anxious, just kind of take my time,” said Hamlin on chasing down DiBenedetto. “I had plenty of time. I just worked him over, worked him over. I knew I didn't want to show him the bottom until I knew I could make the pass. I ran the top, ran the top, ran the top, got the position on the bottom and finished it. We had a great car that could move around. Came back from a couple laps down and here we are.”
Toyota drivers led a combined 277 laps (of 500) with DiBenedetto leading a race-high 93 laps en route to a career-best runner-up finish.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said DiBenedetto. “I’m so sad we didn’t win, but proud, proud of the effort. It’s so hard to be that close, but it’s neat to race door-to-door with Denny Hamlin, someone who I’ve been a fan of since I was a kid. It’s amazing. Great day, but this one is going to hurt for sure.”
The NASCAR Cup Series takes next weekend off before heading to Darlington Raceway for the legendary Southern 500 on Sunday, September 1.