Denny Hamlin Wins Third of the Year at NASCAR’s Dover Motor Speedway

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Dover Motor Speedway, Dover, DE — April 28, 2024

The “Monster Mile” hosts the NASCAR Cup Series Wurth 400 today on the one-mile concrete paved oval. Dover Motor Speedway, originally known as Dover Downs International Speedway, has hosted 105 NASCAR Cup Series races since its inaugural event on July 6, 1969.

The first Dover Motor Speedway NASCAR Cup Series race on July 6, 1969, was a 300-mile event won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty driving a Petty Enterprises Ford (115.772 mph, 02:35:28). Petty actually won the first two Cup events at the track (1969, 1970). In total, the 105 NASCAR Cup Series races at Dover Motor Speedway have produced 43 different pole winners and 39 different race winners.

Petty’s car, normally piloted by Michigan’s Erik Jones, will have a different driver behind the wheel today. Jones crashed last week at Talladega and suffered a compression fracture of the lower back. Craftsman Truck Series driver Corey Heim will sub for Jones today in the #43 Legacy Motor Club entry.

Heim will have an up-close review of his drive today by his boss, Team Owner Jimmie Johnson, who will also be in today’s race. Johnson is the all-time winner at the track with 11 victories.

Active Dover Winners Wins Seasons
Jimmie Johnson 11 2017, ’15, ’14, ’13, ’12, ’10, ’09 sweep, ’05, ’02 sweep
Martin Truex Jr 4 2023, ’19. ‘16, ‘07
Kyle Busch 3 2017, ‘10, ‘08
Chase Elliott 2 2022, ‘18
Alex Bowman 1 2021
Denny Hamlin 1 2020
Kyle Larson 1 2019
Brad Keselowski 1 2012

 

Defending Dover Winner Martin Truex Jr. Is Looking for First Win of 2024

Ranked second in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings following the 10th race of the season at Talladega Superspeedway, Martin Truex Jr. returns to Dover Motor Speedway looking for his first win of 2024. Just 15 points back from the driver standings lead, Truex is the only driver in the top five in the point standings without a win. But that could all change this weekend at the Monster Mile because Truex is the defending winner of this race, and the one-mile concrete track has been particularly good to him over the years.

Truex is one of only two drivers all time to earn their first NASCAR Cup Series career victory (June 6, 2007) at Dover Motor Speedway; he is joined by Jody Ridley (May 17, 1981).

Among active drivers Truex has the second-most wins at Dover Motor Speedway with four. In 33 career starts at Dover, Truex has also put up 10 top fives and 19 top 10s. His average finish at the track is 11.4.

2024 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 10 – Drivers Without Wins
Rank Driver Points Wins Stages Playoff Pts Pts From Cutoff
8 Martin Truex Jr. 344 0 1 1 99
9 Ryan Blaney 302 0 1 1 57
10 Ty Gibbs 296 0 2 2 51
11 Ross Chastain 277 0 1 1 32
12 Alex Bowman 261 0 0 0 16
13 Bubba Wallace 257 0 0 0 12
14 Chase Briscoe 256 0 0 0 11
15 Brad Keselowski 254 0 0 0 9
16 Joey Logano 245 0 1 1 0
17 Chris Buescher 245 0 0 0 0
18 Kyle Busch 234 0 0 0 -11
19 Austin Cindric 192 0 2 2 -53
20 Erik Jones 181 0 0 0 -64
21 Carson Hocevar # 172 0 0 0 -73
22 John Hunter Nemechek 164 0 0 0 -81
23 Ryan Preece 162 0 0 0 -83
24 Todd Gilliland 161 0 0 0 -84
25 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 160 0 0 0 -85
26 Michael McDowell 157 0 1 1 -88
27 Noah Gragson 154 0 0 0 -91
28 Josh Berry # 151 0 0 0 -94
29 Daniel Hemric 140 0 0 0 -105
30 Corey LaJoie 139 0 0 0 -106
31 Austin Dillon 136 0 0 0 -109
32 Harrison Burton 117 0 0 0 -128
33 Justin Haley 101 0 0 0 -144
34 Zane Smith # 86 0 0 0 -159

Drivers Currently Ranked Above the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Cut Line

Today’s Race

Stages in today’s race are set for 120/130/150 laps. Defending Champion Truex starts in 15th. Kyle Busch is on the pole, with Ryan Blaney lining up beside him in the front row.

Tire wear will drive the timing of pit stops today as the abrasive racing surface creates a lot of rubber adhering to the track.

Alex Bowman will make his 300th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Dover Motor Speedway this weekend, becoming the 102nd different driver to make 300 or more starts in the series.

Stage One

Kyle Busch(8) used his starting position to fire off into turn one and take the early lead. The field quickly formed into single-file racing, with Ryan Blaney(12) and Tyler Reddick(45) less than one second behind the leader.

Kyle Busch (L) and Ryan Blaney (R) lead the field to the start of the Wurth 400 at Dover / NASCAR Photo

Busch began lapping traffic 30 laps in, and the change in pace allowed Blaney to slide underneath and take the lead on lap 34. Reddick followed as the tires began to wear out.

Todd Gilliland spun on the front stretch on lap 38. The caution will allow the teams to pit and change tires to determine the extent of tire wear in the first 40-lap run.

Blaney was the first driver off pit road. William Byron(24), Denny Hamlin(11), Tyler Reddick(45), and Kyle Busch(8) followed Blaney back to green flag racing.

On lap 79, Byron passed Blaney for the lead. The top five drivers were separated by less than three seconds. As the laps wound down to the end of Stage One, Reddick and Truex passed Blaney to make it a three-car race for the Stage Win.

With six laps to go, Martin Truex Jr. took the top spot with a car handling better than any of his challengers.

With three laps to go, Brad Keselowski spun in turn one as a tire on his car came apart. The caution froze the field, giving Truex the Stage Win.

Stage One Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 19 Martin Truex Jr. 10
2 24 William Byron 9
3 45 Tyler Reddick 8
4 12 Ryan Blaney* 7
5 5 Kyle Larson 6
6 11 Denny Hamlin 5
7 8 Kyle Busch 4
8 48 Alex Bowman 3
9 9 Chase Elliott 2
10 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1

*Ford Mustang Darkhorse Drivers

Stage Two

Truex and Byron led the field back to the green flag. Followed by Reddick, Blaney, and Hamlin. With fresh tires, several individual battles for position were side-by-side around the track. As the tires begin to wear, the single-file line will be the norm, and passes will become rarer.

Truex’s crew seemed to find the right balance of adjustments needed on the car. He can drive the preferred line all the way around the track, allowing the #19 to build an interval on those chasing the leader.

Kyle Larson’s car is making progress on the track. At the midpoint of the Stage, Larson is in third. Truex leads Byron by 2.5 seconds. As green flag pitstops begin, drivers must guard against a pit road penalty.

Corey LaJoie(7) opted to stay out and hope for caution that would allow him to gain track position on the field.

After pit stops cycled through, LaJoie led, But it was Larson who gained the most time and will inherit the lead when LaJoie pits. William Byron was the big loser in the cycle, falling to 18th after his car fell off the jack during his stop, costing him extra time on pit road.

With 15 laps to go in the Stage, Larson led, followed by Alex Bowman(48), Hamlin, Truex, and Chase Elliott(9). With five laps to go, Larson caught a large group of cars fighting to stay on the lead lap. However, unlike Stage One, there was no late-stage drama as they crossed under the green/white checkered flag.

Stage Two Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 5 Kyle Larson 10
2 48 Alex Bowman 9
3 11 Denny Hamlin 8
4 19 Martin Truex Jr. 7
5 9 Chase Elliott 6
6 8 Kyle Busch 5
7 45 Tyler Reddick 4
8 12 Ryan Blaney* 3
9 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2
10 23 Bubba Wallace 1

*Ford Mustang Darkhorse Drivers

The Final Stage

Hamlin and Larson led the pack back to the restart. Bowman, Busch, and Truex followed. The first three drivers almost wrecked exiting the pit road as Bowman was squeezed between Hamlin and Larson.

In clean air, Hamlin quickly built a three-second advantage over Larson.

As the race passed 300 laps, Larson began to shrink the interval between himself and the leader. Kyle Busch moved into third, and Truex held fourth. The final pit stops may well determine the outcome of the race. Green flag stops are expected around laps 315-325.

Truex was the first to come to pit road on lap 317, and that triggered the entire lead group to come within the next two laps.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(47) spun exiting the pits after his stop, bringing out the caution for just the fourth time. As it occurred in the middle of the pit cycle, the scoring pylon will take some sorting out to update the standings.

The race restarted with 72 laps to go with Larson and Hamlin on the front row. Truex and Elliott lined up behind them.

As is always the case, cautions breed cautions. Three wide racing off of turn two created another yellow flag before a lap could be completed. Bubba Wallace(23), Christopher Bell(20), William Byron, and Zane Smith(71) were caught up in the incident. Smith was the only vehicle able to continue.

Restarting with 62 laps to go, Larson and Hamlin lined up on the front row, Noah Gragson(10) and Truex in row two, and Daniel Hemric(31) and Elliott starting in row three. Hamlin edged ahead of Larson into turn one and began to drive away.

Tires should not be a factor over the closing laps. It may come down to who has the best long-run handling and how that relates to speed. With 40 laps to go, the interval between Hamlin and Larson was one second.

As Hamlin caught lapped traffic, Larson began to cut into the interval. With 20 laps to go, it was down to 0.63 seconds. With 10 to go, Larson was within three car lengths of the leader.

Hamlin hung on to take the win by a car-length, his third victory of 2024.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Standings

RK DRIVER POINTS STATUS
1 Denny Hamlin 361 In Win(3)
2 William Byron 348 In Win(3)
3 Kyle Larson 410 In Win
4 Chase Elliott 377 In Win
5 Tyler Reddick 354 In Win
6 Christopher Bell 258 In Win
7 Daniel Suarez 239 In Win
8 Martin Truex Jr. 395 +132
9 Ryan Blaney* 342 +79
10 Ty Gibbs 323 +60
11 Alex Bowman 302 +39
12 Ross Chastain 302 +39
13 Kyle Busch 276 +13
14 Chase Briscoe* 274 +11
15 Joey Logano* 266 +3
16 Chris Buescher* 265 +2
NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Cut Line
17 Bubba Wallace 263 -2
18 Brad Keselowski* 261 -4
19 Austin Cindric* 214 -51
20 Carson Hocevar 187 -78
21 Noah Gragson* 185 -80
22 John Hunter Nemechek 181 -84
23 Erik Jones 181 -84
24 Josh Berry* 174 -91
25 Daniel Hemric 168 -97

*Ford Mustang Darkhorse Drivers

Results of the Wurth 400 from Dover Motor Speedway

POS CAR DRIVER BEHIND LAPS
1 11 Denny Hamlin 400
2 5 Kyle Larson 0.256 400
3 19 Martin Truex Jr. 4.209 400
4 8 Kyle Busch 9.646 400
5 9 Chase Elliott 9.830 400
6 10 Noah Gragson 10.670 400
7 12 Ryan Blaney 10.827 400
8 48 Alex Bowman 11.790 400
9 31 Daniel Hemric 12.098 400
10 54 Ty Gibbs 13.594 400
11 45 Tyler Reddick 14.944 400
12 1 Ross Chastain 14.947 400
13 16 AJ Allmendinger 16.285 400
14 4 Josh Berry 18.882 400
15 2 Austin Cindric 21.076 400
16 22 Joey Logano 21.630 400
17 17 Chris Buescher 21.793 400
18 99 Daniel Suarez -1 399
19 14 Chase Briscoe -1 399
20 42 John Hunter Nemechek -2 398
21 7 Corey LaJoie -2 398
22 77 Carson Hocevar -3 397
23 51 Justin Haley -3 397
24 71 Zane Smith -3 397
25 43 Corey Heim -3 397
26 21 Harrison Burton -3 397
27 3 Austin Dillon -4 396
28 84  Jimmie Johnson -5 395
29 15 Kaz Grala -6 394
30 6 Brad Keselowski -17 383
31 38 Todd Gilliland -21 379
32 23 Bubba Wallace -71 329
33 24 William Byron -71 329
34 20 Christopher Bell -72 328
35 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -80 320
36 34 Michael McDowell -115 285
37 41 Ryan Preece -334 66