Hamlin led a race-high 98 of 200 laps and received each Stage 1 and Stage 2.
Nevertheless, the three-time Daytona 500 champion discovered himself in a nasty place following the ultimate set of green-flag pit stops. Producers had been pitting in teams individually, a drawback to Toyota as they’re outnumbered by their rivals.
Mix that with the truth that the Toyota drivers weren’t capable of keep collectively exiting the pits and Hamlin was instantly on the rear of the lead pack with an uphill battle in entrance of him.
“We had been too far out entrance,” Hamlin admitted. “We bought on-and-off pit highway too good. I used to be simply too far forward of the pack. I figured the Chevys would make a transfer from two or three to go, as a result of they don’t seem to be going to win on the final lap from fifth or sixth. I used to be capable of achieve some positions. I feel I used to be twelfth and everyone was working single file, so it handcuffed me. I couldn’t actually do something. I hoped as soon as I bought to eighth so long as they make a transfer with two to go, I’m within the vitality – within the space the place I could make one thing occur.
“Dominant automobile, only a dominant automobile. Simply a type of issues that execute too good.”
Regardless of falling outdoors the top-ten, he was nonetheless capable of claw his method again by means of the sector. Within the chaos of the ultimate lap, he was capable of snag fifth-place. The comeback was a formidable one, however not sufficient to make historical past in NASCAR’s most prestigious race.
“I didn’t see (what occurred on the finish), I used to be too far again,” Hamlin mentioned of the fiery last-lap crash that ended the race. “We didn’t execute too good on pit highway. It was identical to the 125 (Duel race). We got here out in entrance of everyone, and didn’t have any assist to stand up to hurry. All of them blew by us as a result of they had been single file, so it simply took away the ability that I bought and that’s getting by means of visitors. The very fact we got here again to fifth there from twelfth on the final couple of laps is fairly good. Dominant automobile.”
Hamlin leaves SpeedWeeks second within the championship standings. Subsequent week, the Cup Sequence returns to Daytona Worldwide Speedway to compete on the highway course.