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MENCS: Hamlin, JGR win for first time in 2017

(MRN)  The monkey is off Joe Gibbs Racing’s back as Denny Hamlin picked of the first win of the season for J.G.R. and the thirtieth of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Hamlin, who crashed in practice on Friday before qualifying, was able to secure the win in a backup car. It is his first win since last September at Richmond. Hamlin out-ran a closing Kyle Larson in the final laps of the race.

After securing the pole position for the race, Larson had to start in the back of the field after failing post-qualifying inspection. Larson’s second place finish was the seventh time the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has been the bridesmaid this season. Rounding out the top five was series points leader Martin Truex Junior, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick.

The top rookie finisher was Daniel Suarez in sixth place.

Finishing the top ten were Clint Bowyer and teammate Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson.

The track traction compound PJ1 that was applied to the surface of the racetrack and created exciting side by side racing in the X-finity race on Saturday, seemed to be less of a factor for the Cup guys Sunday, especially in the last stage of the race.

There were seven cautions for thirty-four laps.

Eleven lead changes were shared by six drivers including Hamlin, Kenseth, Truex, Larson, Kyle Busch, and Dale Earnhardt Junior.

The Monster Energy Series travels to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 Sunday.

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Top 10 Finishers in the Overton’s 301

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Denny Hamlin (8) 54

2. Kyle Larson (39) 1

3. Martin Truex Junior (1) 137

4. Matt Kenseth (3) 4

5. Kevin Harvick (12) —

6. Daniel Suarez (R) (14) —

7. Clint Bowyer (19) —

8. Kurt Busch (9) —

9. Brad Keselowski (10) —

10. Jimmie Johnson (2) —

NASCAR CUP SERIES Unofficial Point Standings After 19 Races

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND LEADER

1. Martin Truex Jr. (3) 758 —-

2. Kyle Larson (2) 720 -38

3. Kyle Busch 650 -108

4. Kevin Harvick (1) 639 -119

5. Denny Hamlin (1) 589 -169

6. Chase Elliott 587 -171

7. Jamie McMurray 572 -186

8. Brad Keselowski (2) 564 -194

9. Jimmie Johnson (3) 552 -206

10. Clint Bowyer 526 -232

11. Matt Kenseth 524 -234

12. Ryan Blaney (1) 486 -272

13. Joey Logano (1) 472 -286

14. Kurt Busch (1) 455 -303

15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2) 441 -317

16. Ryan Newman (1) 428 -330

17. Erik Jones (R) 427 -331 18. Daniel Suarez (R) 404 -354

19. Trevor Bayne 369 -389

20. Austin Dillon 363 -395

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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