NASCAR at New Hampshire results, standings: Denny Hamlin wins to clinch playoffs

Denny Hamlin held off Kyle Larson to win his first race of the season on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, punching his ticket to the NASCAR playoffs. Hamlin took the lead from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth with 32 laps to go and didn't look back. Larson, who initially qualified on the pole, started from the rear of the field after failing post-qualifying inspection.

It is the first win of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing and Hamlin's third career victory at the track. The No. 11 becomes the 11th driver to win this year, leaving just five playoff spots open with seven races to go in the regular season.

"Definitely needed a win for the organization, for myself," Hamlin said. "It's not from a lack of trying."

Hamlin, who ran a backup car after crashing the No. 11 Toyota in practice, was one of our picks to win this weekend. All four of our drivers finished in the top 12.

Martin Truex Jr. led all 75 laps in Stage 1 after starting on the pole en route to his series-leading 14th stage victory this season. The No. 78 will have a serious advantage once the NASCAR playoffs start as his 29 points nearly double Jimmie Johnson's second-place total of 16.

Kyle Busch took Stage 2 after winning the Xfinity Race at New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon. Hamlin finished the stage second while Stewart Haas-Racing's Kevin Harvick placed third. Busch led 96 laps on the day but eliminated himself from contending for a victory with two costly pit road speeding penalties late in the race. 

Johnson was hit with an early penalty for jumping the green flag after starting second. The sevent-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion was forced to pass through pit-road and work its way back toward the front of the field early on.

Erik Jones saw his day end on lap 43 when his No. 77 got loose and slammed into the wall. Earlier this week, it was announced that Jones would be joining Joe Gibbs Racing to replace Kenseth in the famous No. 20 car next season. Jones was running in the top 10 when he crashed and is now 17th in the points.

Another playoff hopeful who had to made a visit to the garage was 2016 runner-up Joey Logano. The No. 22 encountered mechanical issues halfway through the final stage but was able to make it back onto the track. His win at Richmond is encumbered due to penalties hence his team is not locked in as a result.

The red flag came out early in Stage 2 as track officials were forced to repair a hole in the upper groove of turn 3/4. The delay didn't last more than 15 minutes.

Overton's 301 results

  1. Denny Hamlin, #11
  2. Kyle Larson, #42
  3. Martin Truex Jr., #78
  4. Matt Kenseth, #20
  5. Kevin Harvick, #4
  6. Daniel Suarez, #19
  7. Clint Bowyer, #14
  8. Kurt Busch, #41
  9. Brad Keselowski, #2
  10. Jimmie Johnson, #48
  11. Chase Elliott, #24
  12. Kyle Busch, #18
  13. Danica Patrick, #10
  14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #17
  15. Austin Dillon, #3
  16. Ty Dillon, #13
  17. Jamie McMurray, #1
  18. Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88
  19. Ryan Blaney, #21
  20. Trevor Bayne, #6
  21. AJ Allmendinger, #47
  22. Paul Menard, #27
  23. Landon Cassill, #34
  24. Aric Almirola, #43
  25. Chris Buescher, #37
  26. Michael McDowell, #95
  27. Ryan Newman, #31
  28. Kasey Kahne, #5
  29. David Ragan, #38
  30. Matt DiBenedetto, #32
  31. Corey LaJoie, #23
  32. Ryan Sieg, #83
  33. Jeffrey Earnhardt, #33
  34. Reed Sorenson, #15
  35. Gray Gaulding, #55
  36. Josh Bilicki, #51
  37. Joey Logano, #22
  38. Cole Whitt, #72
  39. Erik Jones, #77

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season standings

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR #

POINTS

BEHIND

WINS

1.

Martin Truex Jr.

78

758

LEADER

3

2.

Kyle Larson

42

720

38

2

3.

Kyle Busch

18

650

108

0

4.

Kevin Harvick

4

639

119

1

5.

Denny Hamlin

11

589

169

1

6.

Chase Elliott

24

587

171

0

7.

Jamie McMurray

1

572

186

0

8.

Brad Keselowski

2

564

194

2

9.

Jimmie Johnson

48

552

206

3

10.

Clint Bowyer

14

526

-232

0

11.

Matt Kenseth

20

524

234

0

12.

Ryan Blaney

21

486

272

1

13.

Joey Logano

22

472

286

1

14.

Kurt Busch

41

455

303

1

15.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17

441

317

2

16.

Ryan Newman

31

428

330

1

Winless drivers that have won at upcoming tracks

Indianapolis: Ky. Busch, McMurray, Paul Menard
Pocono: Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kahne, Chris Buescher
Watkins Glen:  Ky. Busch, AJ Allmendinger
Michigan: Ky. Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth, Kahne
Bristol: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne
Darlington: Ky. Busch, Kenseth
Richmond: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

*A win guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR playoffs

Odds to win the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Here are the betting odds for the Cup series title, via VegasInsider.com

  • Martin Truex Jr. 9/2
  • Kyle Busch 5/1
  • Jimmie Johnson 6/1
  • Brad Keselowski 6/1
  • Kevin Harvick 7/1
  • Kyle Larson 7/1
  • Joey Logano 10/1
  • Chase Elliott 14/1
  • Denny Hamlin 20/1
  • Ryan Blaney 20/1
  • Matt Kenseth 25/1
  • Clint Bowyer 33/1
  • Kurt Busch 40/1
  • Jamie McMurray 50/1
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 50/1
  • Erik Jones 66/1
  • Austin Dillon 66/1
  • Ryan Newman 66/1
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 100/1
  • Kasey Kahne 100/1
  • Daniel Suarez 100/1
  • Danica Patrick 500/1

The Associated Press contributed information to this report

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories