Hamlin Apologizes to Matt DiBenedetto After Bristol

(BRISTOL, TENN – AUG 17, 2019 – RIS) Denny Hamlin admitted after the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race that he felt bad for Matt DiBenedetto – not because they had an incident during the race, but because Hamlin understands how much DiBenedetto wants and needs the win while seeking a ride for the 2020 season. DiBenedetto led a race high 93 laps on his way to the runner-up finish, the best of his career. Hamlin took the checkered flag for his fourth victory of the 2019 season, overcoming a pair of loose wheels, damage after an incident with the cars of Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson. A pair of wave arounds got Hamlin back on the lead lap and in pursuit of the leaders.

On the way to his second Bristol win and 35 of his career, Hamlin led 79 of the 500 laps with Brad Keselowski at the front for 91 laps, second to "Matty D" in laps led.

In finishing fourth, Kyle Busch kept his points lead over Joey Logano, currently at 39 points.

"I'm so sorry to Matt DiBenedetto and Mike Wheeler. I hate it" said Hamlin in Victory Land following the race. "But I have to give it 110 percent."

Denny Hamlin won the 59th Annual Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, his 35th victory in 494 Monster Energy Cup Series races.

"I wanted to win so bad for these guys, for this team," said a very emotional DiBenedetto said after the race. "We got tight after the deal with (Ryan) Newman when he came up into us. Congrats to Denny. He raced hard.

"I'm trying not to get emotional but it's been a tough week. I just want to stick around. I'm not done yet. I'm here to win."

Unofficial Results: 59th Annual Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race - August 17, 2019 - Bristol Motor Speedway - 0.533 - Mile Concrete

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1)1, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 500, , , 4, 79, 5, 40, Running
2)7, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota, 500, 5, , 1, 93, , 41, Running
3)13, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, 500, 8, 8, 6, 91, , 40, Running
4)31, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Toyota, 500, , 4, 5, 30, , 40, Running
5)6, Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hooters Spirits Chevrolet, 500, 2, 6, 1, 33, , 46, Running
6)2, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 500, 1, , 3, 62, 1, 41, Running
7)20, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Peak Lighting Ford, 500, , , , , , 30, Running
8)18, Daniel Suarez, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford, 499, , 2, , , , 38, Running
9)4, Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, 499, 9, 1, 1, 9, 1, 40, Running
10)12, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford, 499, 6, , , , , 32, Running
11)14, Ryan Newman, No. 6 Acronis Ford, 499, , 3, , , , 34, Running
12)17, Daniel Hemric #, No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, 499, , 9, , , , 27, Running
13)3, Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Toyota, 498, 3, 10, 1, 52, , 33, Running
14)22, Bubba Wallace, No. 43 United States Air Force Chevrolet, 498, , , , , , 23, Running
15)10, Alex Bowman, No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 497, , , , , , 22, Running
16)11, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 497, , , , , , 21, Running
17)29, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Bush's Beans Chevrolet, 497, , , , , , 20, Running
18)23, Ryan Preece #, No. 47 Kroger Chevrolet, 497, , , , , , 19, Running
19)30, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, 496, , , , , , 18, Running
20)24, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Military Chevrolet, 496, , , , , , 17, Running
21)21, William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet, 496, , 5, , , , 22, Running
22)9, Erik Jones, No. 20 STANLEY Toyota, 495, 7, 7, 1, 23, , 23, Running
23)25, Paul Menard, No. 21 Menards/Knauf Ford, 495, , , , , , 14, Running
24)26, Corey LaJoie, No. 32 Incredible Bank Ford, 494, , , , , , 13, Running
25)32, Landon Cassill(i), No. 00 Permatex Chevrolet, 490, , , , , , 0, Running
26)39, Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 Chantz Auto Group Chevrolet, 490, , , , , , 0, Running
27)27, Matt Tifft #, No. 36 Surface Sunscreen Ford, 487, , , , , , 10, Suspension
28)36, * JJ Yeley, No. 54 PODS Ford, 485, , , , , , 9, Running
29)5, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, 482, 10, , , , , 9, Running
30)34, * Quin Houff, No. 27 Chevrolet, 478, , , , , , 7, Running
31)38, Kyle Weatherman(i), No. 52 Belmont Classic Cars Chevrolet, 474, , , , , , 0, Running
32)33, BJ McLeod(i), No. 51 Pinnacle Sports and Entertainment Chevrolet, 410, , , , , , 0, Front Hub
33)15, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 391, , , , , , 4, DVP
34)19, Austin Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chevrolet, 387, , , , , , 3, Running
35)35, * Josh Bilicki(i), No. 53 AQRE Chevrolet, 373, , , , , , 0, Fatigue
36)16, David Ragan, No. 38 MDS Ford, 371, , , , , , 1, Accident
37)28, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 368, , , , , , 1, Accident
38)37, Reed Sorenson, No. 77 Go-Parts.com Chevrolet, 269, , , , , , 1, Clutch
39)8, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford, 244, 4, , 1, 28, , 8, Clutch
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 49 Mins, 9 Secs.
Total Race Length:500 Laps - 266.5 Miles

Average Speed:94.531 MPH
Margin of Victory: .502 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10:42, 9, 19, 4, 95, 12, 20, 2, 1, 10
Stage 2 Top 10:1, 41, 6, 18, 24, 9, 20, 2, 8, 19

Race Comments:Denny Hamlin won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, his 35th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Prior to the startof the race the following cars dropped to the rear under penalty for the reasons indicated: No. 54 and 77 (unapproved adjustments).

Caution Flags:8 for 61 laps;
Laps:81-87 (No. 3, 11 and 48 Incident in Turn 3 [None]);
127-134 (Stage 1 Conclusion [8]);
191-196 (No. 10 and 54 Incident in Turn 2 [4]);
214-219 (No. 10 and 51 Incident in Turn 1 [18]);
244-248 (No. 14 Spin in Turn 2 [11]);
252-259 (Stage 2 Conclusion [22]);
364-370 (No. 22, 24 and 88 Incident in Turn 1 [6]);
374-387 (No. 12, 17, 34, 38, 48 Incident in Turn 1 [8]).

Lead Changes:23 among 10 drivers;
D. Hamlin 1-14;
K. Larson 15-23;
D. Hamlin 24-38;
K. Larson 39-45;
D. Hamlin 46-83;
K. Larson 84-129;
B. Keselowski 130;
C. Elliott 131-163;
K. Harvick 164-191;
B. Keselowski 192;
M. Truex Jr. 193-244;
K. Busch 245-253;
K. Busch 254-264;
B. Keselowski 265-349;
K. Busch 350;
B. Keselowski 351;
K. Busch 352;
B. Keselowski 353-354;
K. Busch 355-365;
B. Keselowski 366;
K. Busch 367-372;
E. Jones 373-395;
M. DiBenedetto 396-488;
D. Hamlin 489-500.

American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award:Chase Elliott, No. 9
Busch Pole Award:Denny Hamlin, No. 11 129.23 mph
Fastest Lap:Kyle Larson, No. 42
Moog Go the Extra Mile:Matt DiBenedetto, No. 95 crew chief Michael Wheeler, 0.703 seconds
Sunoco Rookie of the Race:Daniel Hemric, No. 8

Photo credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2019, Issue 8, Posted 1:01 AM, 08.18.2019