Hamlin Wins Sylvania 300, Johnson in Sprint Cup Lead
Denny Hamlin took the number one spot in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with Jimmie Johnson in second place and Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne taking third, fourth, and fifth places respectively. With 2096 points, Jimmie Johnson is at the head of the pack in the Sprint Cup Series standings. The error-free race in the #11 FedEx Toyota was Hamlin’s fifth victory of the year and the 100th victory for owner of the team he’s driving for, Joe Gibbs. The win also moved Hamlin into third place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
Although finishing sixth at New Hampshire, Brad Keselowski picked up some bonus points for leading laps and is in second place in the Sprint Cup series standings. Tony Stewart finished in seventh place, having led in 38 laps, and is considered to be a strong contender for the title. Having won July’s race at New Hampshire, Kasey Kahne finished fifth on Sunday remaining at fifth in the standings, ending the day as he had started it at 15 points out of first. Clint Bowyer remains in sixth spot, also 15 points out of first. Jeff Gordon started from pole position, leading a number of laps during the race and finished third, but remains relatively far down the field in the championship at 45 out of first.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. battled to make up ground, remaining outside the top 15 for a large part of the race and finishing thirteenth. Kevin Harvick finished the race in eleventh place, managing to gain two spots, but losing seven points and finishing the day at 31 points out of first. While Greg Biffle may have been the favorite coming into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he has not been able to live up to expectations and finished eighteenth in Sunday’s race – the lowest of the Chase field for the day, ending 33 out of the lead. Martin Truex Jr. finished in seventeenth place, while Matt Kenseth completed the race in eleventh place.
NASCAR unofficial driver standings following the Sylvania 300 are :
1. Jimmie Johnson – 2096 points
2. Brad Keselowski – 2095 points
3. Denny Hamlin – 2089 points
4. Tony Stewart – 2086 points
5. Kasey Kahne – 2081 points
6. Clint Bowyer – 2081 points
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 2070 points
8. Kevin Harvick – 2065 points
9. Greg Biffle – 2063 points
10. Martin Truex Jr. – 2062
11. Matt Kenseth – 2061 points
12. Jeff Gordon – 2051 points