Tha Sports Junkies 101

Hamlin Wins Federated Auto Parts 400: Chase Field Set


For some of the drivers in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400, the goal was to be eligible for the championship this season. For those already locked in like Denny Hamlin, the focus was more on securing a momentum-building win. 400 laps later, Hamlin accomplished exactly that.

Denny Hamlin scored his third win of the season and 29th of his Cup career, beating Kyle Larson to the line. Third place was Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski fourth, and fifth went to Kevin Harvick.

After 25 races, 13 winners, and tirelessly reviewing a multitude of scenarios, the pressure was on for several teams still in the hunt to make the Chase for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Twelve drivers came in locked into the 16 driver playoff field, with Chris Buescher only needing to be in the top 30 in points to qualify. That meant that at least 3 positions were up for grabs for those in the top 30 without a win in 2016.

Ryan Blaney was considered a dark horse candidate to score a surprise win and punch his ticket. But Blaney ran into trouble early on lap 11, making contact with the outside wall and spending time in the garage for repairs. Then on lap 96, Chase Elliott had a cut left front tire and got into the frontstretch wall. The 24 team was able to repair Elliott’s car without losing a lap, likely keeping him in the playoff lineup.

Ryan Newman was involved in a multicar crash with 37 laps remaining that ended his chances. The crash began with contact between Newman and his former team owner Tony Stewart. After the crash, Newman had some harsh words for Stewart. “I guess he thought he was in a sprint car again, didn’t know how to control his anger.”

In the end, the 16 drivers who qualified for the chase were Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, and Jamie McMurray.

The Chase for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship begins next week at Chicagoland Speedway. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 airs on Sunday September 18th at 2:30 pm EST on NBCSN.