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Denny Hamlin: Biggest Takeaways from Win in STP 400

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 22:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, leads Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 22, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 16, 2016

Denny Hamlin fought off his fellow drivers and changing weather conditions to capture the STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway.

It was his second victory of the NASCAR season.

Hamlin overtook Martin Truex Jr. with 31 laps to go and he never relinquished the lead from there. The drivers head to Richmond for the Sprint Cup Series 400 on April 28.

Before that, let's take a look at the biggest takeaways from Hamlin's win at the STP 400.

 

Resolve

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 22:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, performs a burnout in celebration of winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 22, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Gett
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Hamlin and his crew showed great resolve and poise dealing with the weather change. Most drivers were expecting the weather to be closer to 70 degrees for the entire race, but that wasn't the case.

Because of this curveball from Mother Nature, the race became a survival of the fittest.

Once the track warmed up, Hamlin's car outperformed the rest of the field.

Truex, Jr's car in particular slipped late. that gave Hamlin the opening.

Were it not for he and his entire crew's poise, they wouldn't have been in position to move ahead.

 

Chasing Jr.

Hamlin bested one Jr., but he is now just two points behind a much more famous Jr. in the Sprint Cup standings.

With the win, he has 289 overall points and Dale Earnhardt, Jr is clinging to fourth place with just 291 points.

Earnhardt Jr. still is without a win, but he has stayed in the top four in the standings on the strength of strong showings early in the season. We will see if Hamlin can continue the momentum and push past him.

 

200 for 11?

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Darrell Waltrip (L) stands with Winston Kelly (R) and his Championship-winning No. 11 Mountain Dew Buick during the kick off of the final 50 days before the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on March
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With the win, Hamlin was able to guide the No. 11 car to its 199th win in NASCAR competition. The win broke a tie for the all-time lead with the No. 43 car.

Hamlin will try to hit the 200 mark with a win in Richmond, but this was a historic win in itself.

He has a solid chance at a Sprint Cup Series title this season. Only 23 points separate him and the leader Greg Biffle.

We'll have to see what happens over the next five months, but this was a solid and impressive showing.

 

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