Hamlin earns first All-Star Race victory for JGR

Denny Hamlin held off Kevin Harvick to win the race.

Denny Hamlin claimed his first NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race victory Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway after a fantastic job by his JGR crew on pit road. It was also the first-ever All-Star win for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch finished second and third, stalking the No. 11 at the checkered flag.

"Everyone worked hard for this win," Hamlin's crew chief Dave Rogers said. "I'm so proud to be a part of this team."

Hamlin started the race from pole and led early before Kasey Kahne took over on lap 15 in the first of four 25-lap segments that, along with a 10-lap sprint to the finish, made up the 110-lap exhibition race.

The winning move

Hamlin was sixth in the running order when NASCAR reset the field, based on drivers' average finishes in the four 25-lap segments prior to a mandatory four-tire pit stop. A 10.4-second stop allowed Hamlin to jump up into the top spot, the winning move. 

"That's all there is to it," Hamlin said. "That pit crew did an amazing job. The number one pit stall also helped us. I knew it was fast when they went over to the left side."

"What a great night for the Haas Automation Chevy. We won a segment but not the right one," Busch said. "I don't know why we're standing here in third. I thought we were a better can than that."

Heartbreak for Keselowski

Keselowski, who led 41 laps through the first three segments, got off pit road second after his mandatory stop but was caught speeding and sent to the back. As Keselowski raced back up through the field, Harvick ran second to Hamlin. He remained right on Hamlin's back bumper until Hamlin was able to take the air off the nose of his pursuer, winning by a margin of 0.923 seconds.

"I moved up and changed lines, and when I changed lines, the car just took off," Hamlin said.

Jeff Gordon finished fourth, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five. 19 of the 20 starters completed every lap with mechanical issues putting Danica Patrick in the garage, early.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event All-Star
Track Charlotte Motor Speedway
Drivers Denny Hamlin
Article type Race report
Tags jgr, joe gibbs racing