With only seven races left before the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series begins, drivers and teams who are on the outside looking in are starting to feel the pressure. For those like Denny Hamlin, the way to relieve the pressure is simple: win a race. Today, the pressure was released.

The weekend didn’t start off too well for Hamlin as he crashed his primary car during the first practice on Friday. After the team looked over the damage, they felt that there was too much damage and decided to go to the backup car.

After starting in the eighth position at the beginning of the race, Hamlin worked his way up to the front and eventually took the lead on lap 154. He would lead for the next 20 laps until Martin Truex Jr. took the position. However, Hamlin would stay in the top 10 and was in the right position as the laps were winding down.

A caution came out on lap 263, causing Ryan Newman to spin. Hamlin came down pit road and put on four fresh tires, resulting in him restarting the race in the fourth position.

Last Restart

The last restart of the day came on lap 266 where Matt Kenseth took over the race lead. Two laps later, Hamlin uses his bumper and retakes the race lead from Kenseth. With a 1.9 second lead over second place, it looked like Hamlin would be on cruise control for the rest of the night.

However, Kyle Larson was making time up and catching him quickly. Hamlin ran the last 15 laps perfectly and was able to hold off Larson to pick up his first win of the 2017 season. It also snapped a 20-race winless race streak for Joe Gibbs Racing dating back to November of last year.

Broken part ruins a good finish for Logano

Joey Logano considers New Hampshire Speedway his home track. On Friday, Logano said he wished the NASCAR schedule had the series visit the one-mile race track three to four times a year. As one of the drivers who are outside the playoff cut line, Logano hoped some hometown magic would be enough to get the win today and be able to reap the benefits of winning after his first win earlier in the year was ruled encumbered and the team cannot use the win to make the playoffs.

His chances took a big hit on Sunday.

At the beginning of stage three, there was smoke coming out of Logano’s left rear wheel well. The team told him to bring it down to pit road in hopes of getting it fixed quickly. However, the team discovered it would be a long repair thus forcing Logano to the garage area on lap 174.

The team found out it was suspension issue and was able to get it fixed and have Joey back out on the track.

However, NASCAR decided to confiscate the broken part in order to take a closer look at it. If the part draws a penalty, Logano and the team will more than likely have to win another race in order to make the playoffs.

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