Denny Hamlin wins the Richmond Cup by using a tyre technique

race winner denny hamlin

Denny Hamlin used a cunning stop plan to overtake the leader on fresh tyres, giving Toyota their first NASCAR Cup Series victory in the Next Gen vehicle.

race winner denny hamlin

In the final phase of Sunday’s competition at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, squads were split on whether to execute a one-stop or two-stop pit strategy, with William Byron and Martin Truex Jr. selecting for one pause in the 170-lap stage, while Hamlin and Harvick were among those that used two stops.

On older tyres, Byron held on to the lead for 71 circuits, but Hamlin, on newer tyres, eventually caught up to him and overtook him with four circuits remaining. To clinch his first race of the 2022 season, Hamlin had to hold off Harvick by 0.552 seconds.

It was also Toyota’s first win with the Next Gen car, and the first for a Toyota racer since Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October.

Hamlin wanted the win since he had yet to place in the top ten this season and was 22nd in the championship rankings going into the race.

With less than 50 circuits to go, Hamlin and Harvick pitted under green for new tyres, while Byron pitted with roughly 90 laps to go.

“Just great strategy there. Just drove as hard as I could. Just so proud of this whole FedEx Camry team, man, just never giving up,” Hamlin said. “There was no doubt in my mind, maybe just a little, but they got this car right there towards the end.

“Wow, unbelievable.”

When questioned about how the victory could jump-start his season, Hamlin said, “We needed a data point, something, a good run to kind of balance ourselves on other tracks. Obviously, I think we got it here.”

Byron came in third, Truex came in fourth, and Kyle Larson finished out the top five.

Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top ten.

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