'Call Me a Winner'
Hamlin Makes No Friends in XFINITY Win
Denny Hamlin clearly had the best car in Saturday's XFINITY Series race. How he got to Sunoco Victory Lane, though, is another story. Jumped on a late restart by Austin Dillon, Hamlin responded with an aggressive pass, bumping Dillon out of the way to take the lead back. He would never relinquish it en route to the Lakes Region 200, marking the 25th anniversary of the first NASCAR race ever held at the Magic Mile.
"Look, he jumped the restart - and that's okay, but that's just two guys short track racing for a win," said Hamlin, who will go for the weekend sweep in tomorrow's 5-hour ENERGY 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. "I did feel like he (Austin) left early. There is a misconception at this track. The bottom lane is the middle lane and not the yellow line. When you are on the outside when you run the middle lane, you run the risk of someone washing up into you."
Dillon pushed hard for the final 20 laps, but couldn't quite get close enough to Hamlin's bumper to make it interesting.
"He was laying back, rule is when you get to the red mark, to go," said Dillon, referencing the restart on Lap 274. "We were dead even going into (Turn 1), so I don't know what the problem is. What is racing if you can't run side by side through even one corner? I'm fine with racing rough, I can do that with anybody. Just let me know before we get to the first turn."
Defending champion Brad Keselowski finished third for Penske Racing, while Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez finished fourth and fifth, respectively, giving Joe Gibbs Racing three Toyotas in the top-five.
Although Hamlin and Busch had the two best cars early on, Hamlin's spin in Turn 2 on Lap 23 brought out the caution and pushed the two teammates to the rear of the field.
"It didn't matter," said Busch when asked if the run-in with Hamlin made a difference.
Hamlin needed just 23 more laps to take the lead back, finishing Lap 46 on point. He led 145 laps on the afternoon and will now try to follow Keselowski and become the second driver to sweep XFINITY and Sprint Cup races on the same weekend at the Magic Mile.
But could another run-in with Dillon derail that opportunity?
"He called me a spoiled rich kid at Texas two years ago. And I hate it," said Dillon. "With Denny acting like that, what does he want me to call him?
Hamlin's response: "Call me a winner."