Hamlin benefits from late-race caution to win at Atlanta

11:03 PM, Sep 2, 2012   |    comments
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Hampton, GA (Sports Network) - Denny Hamlin easily clinched his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by winning Sunday night's AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Hamlin beat Martin Truex Jr. out of the pits to take the lead during a caution in the closing laps. The caution, which came for an incident involving Jamie McMurray, set up a green-white-checkered finish.

After the final restart, Hamlin pulled away from the field, while Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski passed second-place runner Truex. Hamlin held off a last- lap challenge from Gordon, beating him to the finish line by 0.38 seconds for his Sprint Cup Series-leading fourth win of the season. He also won last weekend at Bristol.

Keselowski finished third, while Truex placed fourth. Truex held the lead before the sixth and final caution, in hopes of ending his 191-race winless streak.

Kevin Harvick completed the top-five.

Hamlin, Keselowski, Truex, Clint Bowyer and Harvick joined Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson as those drivers who have secured a position in the Chase based on points. Tony Stewart, currently 10th in the standings, is guaranteed at least a wild card due to his three wins this year.

Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch occupy the two wild card positions heading into next Saturday's Chase cut-off race at Richmond.

The Sports Network

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