With less than 40 laps to go Hamlin had to go to the rear for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop under caution.
It took the No. 18 car just over 30 laps to get up to third after restarting 14th.
Then a caution flew with under two laps to go and changed the entire outcome of the 300-mile race.
Hamlin's JGR teammate and pole-sitter Erik Jones brought out a caution when he cut down a right front tire, pounding the outside wall. The No. 18 team decided to come down and put four tires on their machine, while the two race leaders stayed out.
On the green-white-checkered finish, Hamlin grabbed the lead coming to the white flag where he wouldn't look back en route to JGR's seventh win of the season in the series.
"It was a second opportunity," Hamlin said of his victory. "I was hoping for that caution there and the end and we got it. We were able to get four tires and took off. It was a little closer than I thought, we were just really right in those last couple of laps."
Austin Dillon was the first off pit road taking just two tires after the final caution. He gained one position in the final two laps, finishing in the runner-up position.
After leading 58 laps and being one of two drivers to stay out under the late race caution, Joey Logano came home third. This is his second top-five finish in five races this season in the No. 22 car, which is still looking for its first victory as a team.
"We had a car that was capable of winning if circumstances were right," Logano said of his third-place effort. "I thought I was going to have a good restart next to [Kyle] and I thought if we cleared him, like we did, we would have a shot. It was just really hard to hold off those four tires."
In his second career start Cole Custer came home with a fourth-place finish. His JR Motorsports teammate, Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five.
Kyle Larson made a bold move in Turn 3 of the final lap going for the win, but came up short and hit the outside wall. It cost him dearly as he finished sixth after leading 46 laps.
Larson was the leader of the race when the final caution flag flew and the No. 42 team decided to stay out. Going into the final set of corners he had a shot at the victory, but came up short of his third career XFINITY Series triumph.
"I didn't get a great take-off and Joey [Logano] got around me and was sucking on my door," Larson said of the final restart. "Denny [Hamlin] gave me a shot and i was surprised at how much grip I had. It's pretty hard to beat four tires."
Rookie Brandon Jones finish seventh, with RCR teammate Ty Dillon eighth, Brennan Poole ninth and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top 10.
There were eight cautions in the race for 54 laps. In the two races combined at Charlotte in 2015, there were just six cautions total in 600 miles of competition.
On Lap 25, a caution flew and took out three of the first six drivers in the running order after they slid through some oil on the track in Turn 3.
It started when pole-sitter, Jones was making a move on race leader Hamlin, but slid in the oil and made contact with the wall. From there his JGR teammate, Daniel Suarez slid and had his car saved until coming back up the track into the wall where he was met by Elliott Sadler. All three drivers went at least one lap down
Suarez rebounded to finish 12th, while Sadler came home 28th and Jones 31st.
Next weekend, the XFINITY Series will tackle Pocono Raceway for the first time in series history.
As well as his second victory of the year it was his second $100,000 bonus after finishing highest the highest of the four Dash 4 Cash drivers. Each race that he has won this season has come when he won the bonus.
"I think it's a good spot for us," Jones said about his performance, reminiscing that there is a Chase race at Dover in the fall. "Today we had a car and hopefully that will be a race where we can grab ourselves a win and advance into the next round. We're racing for wins at this point of the year and trying to get as many points as we can before the Chase."
Staying out under caution, Darrell Wallace, Jr. restarted in fourth with five laps to go. Pushing Jones to the lead, the driver of the No. 6 found himself in second with a shot at his first career victory in the XFINITY Series.
"For all that we went through Friday, 'its like okay man this is your favorite track," Wallace said of his second-place finish. "We really had to work for it. When we fired off in the heat races we made some passes and if we could carry that we would have been fine. I was right for once."
The second-place finish was the highest for an African American in the XFINITY Series history, breaking his own record of third last season in Chicago.
Making his first start of 2016 in any NASCAR division, Alex Bowman came home with a third-place result. During the long 70-lap run that opened up the event, the No. 88 car went from fifth to the lead and in the process led 33 laps.
This was the first of nine races on the schedule for Bowman, a guy that thought he had a full-time ride in the Cup Series until NASCAR Media Week in January. Since then he competed in a few open wheel events, but later realized that it was discouraging knowing he wasn't in NASCAR.
"I hope my phone starts ringing and I get some more races," Bowman said of his effort Saturday which tied a career-high finish. "I've got nine races this year and at this point in my career those nine races are really going to define where it goes. I think with my experience in the Cup Series the last two years I have to go win some races. I have to prove that I should be here."
Justin Allgaier grabbed fourth-place after starting from pole. The No. 7 car was out front for the opening lap, but quickly faded to fifth where he ran near for the majority of the 120 laps. This is his eighth top-10 finish in 10 races this year.
Taking the lead on Lap 2, Ty Dillon went on to lead the next 11 circuits. During that long green flag run he quickly fell outside of the top 10, barely remaining on the lead lap before the first caution flew. With the late caution the No. 3 car got a good restart and drove up to round out the top five.
Elliott Sadler rebounded to a sixth-place result after starting from 32nd. In time trials, the No. 1 machine posted the third fastest lap, but jumped the initial restart and was black-flagged. In the first 20 laps of the race he had made his way inside the top 15. From there he just kept going.
Joey Logano, the first Cup Series regular finished seventh on Saturday. At a track where he has four career wins, the No. 22 car struggled throughout the day hovering around the back half of the top 10.
The two other Joe Gibbs Racing cars finished eighth and ninth. Matt Tift hung on to eight-place as Daniel Suarez was penalized late in the event, resulting in a ninth-place effort.
Two of the Richard Childress Racing cars had problems that didn't cause cautions, resulting in multiple laps down. Brandon Jones had a tire rub 20 laps in and made an unscheduled pit stop to repair the damage. He finished 25th. Paul Menard was running sixth when he had a tire go down losing three laps and finishing 29th.
The XFINITY Series has a week off before going to Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend. Sadler holds a four point lead on Suarez through 10 events.
For Justin Allgaier, 2014 was his first full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Along with HScott Motorsports, the year was the team’s first attempt to contend for points in the Cup Series after running the end of 2013 following the purchase of Phoenix Racing.
Allgaier, who had competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for several seasons, had declared to compete in the Cup Series – making him eligible for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. While competing in a rookie class that included that included seven drivers, Allgaier managed to keep himself among the top half of the group. By the end of the year, he went on to finish in third behind Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon.
Throughout the year, Allgaier found some consistency capturing 10 top-20 finishes. Some of his best results came towards the final races of the year. He captured a 15th-place finish at Charlotte, 17th at Martinsville, a 20th-place finish at Texas and a 15th-place result at Homestead.
By the end of the season, Allgaier went on to finish 29th in the points standings. Both his average start and finish were 25.9. He did improve on his average starts and finishes from his four starts in 2013, where his best finish was a 24th-place effort at Talladega.
Although he did improve on some aspects, Allgaier found trouble along the way. With an inexperienced race team, he struggled with a mere 12 finishes on the lead lap. But working with veteran crew chief Steve Addington, the pair was able to guide HScott Motorsports to some consistency late in the season. During the Chase for the Sprint Cup race at Talladega, he failed to qualify into the race during a chaotic round of knockout qualifying. Throughout the year, he captured six DNFs..
Heading into 2015, Allgaier will be back with HScott Motorsports for his sophomore Cup Series season. After getting comfortable in the Cup Series and improving on his results from previous starts, Allgaier has room for growth in 2015, especially with the organization’s alliance with Hendrick Motorsports.
Although HScott Motorsports announced some new partnerships for its teams in the Xfinity Series and K&N Pro Series East, no significant changes have been made towards the No. 51 Cup Series team.
Phoenix Racing now has a new owner after James Finch came to an agreement with Harry Scott Jr. Scott will officially take ownership on September 10th, right before the Chase kickoff at Chicagoland. Scott has some big plans in the works for the No.51 team including a new pilot, current Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier.
Allgaier has been working his way into NASCAR's top tier of racing for many years and is finally getting his chance to run with the best of the best. Starting in Chicagoland, Allgaier will make his first start in the Sprint Cup Series, something he has been patiently waiting for.
Allgaier ran limited races in the series for a variety of teams until he earned his first full-time ride in 2006. For three years, Allgaier raced full time in the series, garnishing eight wins and the 2008 ARCA Championship.
In 2009, Allgaier finally advanced in to NASCAR's Junior Varsity series, the Nationwide Series. In his first two seasons in the Nationwide Series, Allgaier drove the No.12 Verizon Wireless Dodge for Penske Racing. With only one win and eleven top-5 finishes, Allgaier moved to Turner Scott Motorsports in 2011 where he still remains today. While behind the wheel of the No.31 Chevrolet, Allgaier has added two victories and multiple top-5 and top-10 finishes to his resume.
After five full seasons in the Nationwide Series, Allgaier is finally getting his chance at the Sprint Cup Series. With new owner Harry Scott by his side and sponsorship from Nationwide Series sponsor Brandt, Allgaier will make three starts this season in NASCAR's top series before taking over the No.51 permanently in 2014.
Allgaier, with his wife and new baby, is more than thrilled to drive for Scott in 2014. “I love competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series but I must admit that making my debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be a special day for me," said Allgaier.
Allgaier will make his Sprint Cup series debut at Chicagoland Speedway with new Phoenix Racing owner Harry Scott Jr.