Denny Hamlin Leads Toyota 1-2 Finish at Bristol
Hamlin captures fourth win of the season, DiBenedetto tallies career-best runner-up finish
BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 17, 2019) – Denny Hamlin passed Toyota teammate Matt DiBenedetto for the lead with 11 laps to go in Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, going on to cross the finish line in first for a fourth time this season.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Bristol Motor Speedway
Race 24 of 36 – 266.5 miles, 500 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, DENNY HAMLIN
2nd, MATT DiBENEDETTO
3rd, Brad Keselowski*
4th, KYLE BUSCH
5th, Chase Elliott*
13th, MARTIN TRUEX JR
22nd, ERIK JONES
Denny Hamlin captured his fourth win in the 2019 season at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night, leading a Toyota 1-2 finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Hamlin led 79 laps (of 500), passing Camry driver Matt DiBenedetto for the lead for a final time with 11 laps to go
DiBenedetto tallied a career-best second-place finish after leading a race-high 93 laps at the Tennessee short track
Kyle Busch (fourth) also finished in the top five after coming from a lap down and leading 30 laps, as Toyota drivers led a combined 277 laps throughout the night
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How does it feel to be in victory lane in the Bristol night race for a second time in your career?
“It feels good. My first reaction was I was sorry to Matt (DiBenedetto). I know those guys really wanted to win and Matt deserves a win, but – I’m watching him do an interview, I get emotional for him. Just hate it that I had to take it from him.”
What does it say about this team that you guys got damage early in the race and yet you were able to battle back and pick up your fourth win of the year?
“It means a lot. It’s emotional in a lot of reasons.”
Was there any point that you doubted you’d be able to chase him down?
“Yeah, I mean he was good. I knew it was something – that car, it was probably a set up that I ran last year. I know Mike Wheeler has a great set up for this place and Matt was just doing a phenomenal job. That’s all you can say. He’s just a hell of a racecar driver. He’s going to land on his feet in a better ride than he’s got now.”
This team is on a roll, isn’t it?
“Absolutely. It’s on a roll like I’ve never seen before. It hasn’t been this good in a long time.”
You have picked up your fourth win of the season here at Bristol.
“I’m so sorry to Matt DiBenedetto, (crew chief) Mike Wheeler. I hate it. I mean, I know a win would mean a lot to that team. I have to give it 110% for FedEx and my whole team. Just sorry. Proud of this whole FedEx team for giving me a great car, pit crew, crew chief, everybody doing an amazing job. Jordan, all the girls at home. Just the whole team is just doing an amazing job right now. They’re just kicking ass.”
How did you chase Matt down at the end?
“Between my spotter and the crew chief, just stayed on me to not get anxious, just kind of take my time. 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.”
MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What’s your emotion now after a runner-up finish?
“I don’t even know what to say. I’m so sad we didn’t win, but proud, proud of the effort. I got tight there from the damage from trying to get by (Ryan) Newman and that immediately flipped a switch and got tight. Man, this opportunity has been – that’s what I want everybody to know, how thankful I am that I got this opportunity and to work with great people like (Mike) “Wheels” (Wheeler), my crew chief. I am so thankful everyone on this team gave me this opportunity – all of our sponsors, ProCore, Dumont Jet, Anest Iwata spray equipment, Toyota for backing me this year, everybody at Leavine Family Racing. I want to try not to get emotional, but it’s been a tough week and I want to stick around and I want to win. That’s all I want to do is win in the Cup Series and we were close. 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.”
What is going through your head right now?
“I don’t know. So much. I wanted to win so bad for these guys, for this team, for them giving me this opportunity. I’m just thankful that they gave me this opportunity, Toyota, Procore, Dumont Jets. I’m so thankful. But, man, I’m sad. We got tight after the deal with (Ryan) Newman when he came up into us. All of a sudden it got really tight after that. Congrats to Denny (Hamlin). He raced hard. I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid. To be racing door-to-door with him at Bristol, in front of a great group of fans – I’ll try not to get emotional, but it’s been a tough week. I just want to stick around and keep doing this for a long time to come. I love it. I love the opportunity. I’m not done yet. Something will come open. It’s going to happen. I’m here to win. Something’s going to come open. I’m proud of these guys. Thankful for my wife and fans for sticking with me. It’s been a tough journey, a hard week. Cool for this team.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
What did you need more of at the end?
“I was just too loose at the end. The car just wasn’t there really all weekend long. I just never really found what I was looking for. We were kind of all over the place. Early on, we were so loose that I was just barely hanging on and trying to make up time there. We finally got it tightened up enough there when I was racing with the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and got the lead from the 2 before that caution came out. Then we tried to make it a little bit better for exit after that because we were going to go a long ways on tires we figured and just made it too loose. I just had no rear traction getting into the corner. We salvaged a hard-fought day for fourth. That’s about it.”
What’s it say about this race team to have days like this when you’re a lap down and can come back from that?
“It’s better than some other situations for sure. Obviously Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys do a really good job of being able to work on the car and constantly improve it and constantly make it better, but flat out getting our ass kicked right now by our teammates, so we’ve got to get better.”
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