Denny Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart proved to be the master of the tire strategy at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday evening. In a race dominated by tire wear, Hamlin led 13 times for 163 laps and defeated his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Martin Truex Jr. by just over one second on his way to his 52nd career victory and 49th with Toyota.

JGR dominated the laps led category for the second consecutive weekend – leading 383 of 500 laps, while Toyota drivers led 402 of 500 laps. All four JGR drivers – Hamlin, Truex, Gibbs (ninth) and Bell (10th) – finished inside the top-10, with Gibbs earning the first two stage wins of his career.

John Hunter Nemechek had a strong day throughout the evening in his LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Toyota Camry XSE – with top-five finishes in both stages and a sixth-place finish – which gives the North Carolina-native a new career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish.

Toyota Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

Bristol Motor Speedway

Race 5 of 36 – 266.5 miles, 500 laps

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS

1st, DENNY HAMLIN

2nd, MARTIN TRUEX, JR.

3rd, Brad Keselowski*

4th, Alex Bowman*

5th, Kyle Larson*

6th, JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK

9th, TY GIBBS

10th, CHRISTOPHER BELL

20th, ERIK JONES

29th, BUBBA WALLACE

30th, TYLER REDDICK

*non-Toyota driver

TOYOTA QUOTES

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Express Oil Change Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

How did you wheel your car to victory today?

“Yeah, experience was a big part of it for sure. I was trying not to get pushed so much by Ty (Gibbs). I knew he was going to push a little too hard. Obviously, I knew Martin (Truex Jr.) was going to be the next guy in line that had the experience to challenge. Really proud of the team. Obviously, a really great job on the pit sequence there. Being able to hang on longer than others was the key to us being able to stop later and have some tires at the end.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 2nd

What would’ve you wanted to differently there at the end?

“You know, we just came out too far behind him (Denny Hamlin) there on the green flag stop. I was right on his bumper when he pitted and when I came out, he was a straightaway ahead of us and just used my stuff up too much to try to get there. The last five laps, my right rear was corded. It was close. A great run for our Auto-Owners Camry. Great job by everybody on our team all weekend to put us in this position. I was an interesting race, that’s for sure. Just came up a little bit short there.”

How did you manage your tires today?

“Early in the race, went way too hard and realized your tires were gone. And then, it’s like ‘alright, we can’t run as hard as we can.’ Just had to figure out how hard you could push it and what kind of lap times you could run throughout the run. Then kind of manage it from there. It was tricky, honestly, I barely pushed harder there on that last run for 10 laps and you know, at the end, I was right rear corded. There’s a fine line and fortunately for us, we had a lot of speed in our Toyotas today and we were able to save tires and stay up front. That was the key.”

JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 42 Dollar Tree Toyota Camry XSE, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB

Finishing Position: 6th

Strong run all day, and finished in the top-10. How was your race?

“The car is in one piece, and finished p6. Solid day. Definitely needed that. Finished top-five in both stages. I was joking with the guys that it’s just an oversized Pensacola with tire wear. I grew up short track late model racing – places that you had to manage tire wear till the end of the run. We were able to do so. My guys gave me a great Dollar Tree Toyota Camry XSE all day, and everyone at LEGACY MOTOR CLUB worked hard. We were able to finish top-five in both stages and finish sixth overall. Great points day. We definitely needed that as a team.”

TY GIBBS, No. 54 SiriusXM Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 9th

Can you explain this race from your perspective?

“That’s just what we had today with our SiriusXM Camry. I felt like we were great all day, just that last run, the right rear just came apart. We were just two laps late of coming in. When we had that tire come apart, I think I was like four laps down at one point. Just frustrating but you have to work for it here.”

TRD PR