Hamlin fends off teammate Truex to score dramatic overtime Cup victory at Richmond

Denny Hamlin spoiled teammate Martin Truex Jr.’s dominant run under the lights at Richmond Raceway and in front of his home crowd by capturing a wild overtime victory in the Toyota Owners 400 on Easter Sunday, March 31. 

The three-time Daytona 500 champion from Chesterfield, Virginia, led twice for 17 of 407 over-scheduled laps in an event where he started 11th and managed through early wet-weather conditions, late pit stop strategies under green flag conditions and a methodical drive to the front.

Initially set for a third-place finish in the event’s scheduled distance, an opportunity struck for Hamlin after Kyle Larson spun off of Bubba Wallace’s front nose with two laps remaining. Following a swift service from his pit crew that enabled him to beat teammate Truex and Joey Logano off of pit road first, Hamlin then took care of business during an overtime shootout, where he fended off Truex and muscled away from him, Logano and Larson for two laps to score his second NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2024 season.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, March 30, Kyle Larson secured his first Cup pole position of the 2024 season after posting a pole-winning lap at 120.332 mph in 22.438 seconds. Joining him on the front row was teammate Chase Elliott, who clocked in the second-fastest qualifying lap at 120.321 mph in 22.440 seconds. 

Prior to the event, the competitors rolled off pit road and onto the track at a cautious pace with wet-weathered tires attached due to extensive rain that lingered throughout the day and with the event deemed wet from the rain for the start of the race. This made the pit stops at the start of the event deemed non-competitive, which meant that all competitors would exit pit road in the same order following the pit stops until pit road is deemed dried. 

When the green flag waved and the event commenced following an extensive pace lap session, Larson motored his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ahead with the lead through the first two turns until Elliott made his move on the outside lane exiting the backstretch and through Turns 3 and 4, which allowed him to lead the first lap over Larson while Todd Gilliland and Alex Bowman battled for third place.  

As the field continued to navigate around Richmond with enough grip to their respective cars amid the wet-weather tires, Elliott retained the lead and stabilized it for nearly half a second by the fifth lap mark while Larson retained second ahead of Gilliland, Bowman and Bubba Wallace, with Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Ty Gibbs giving chase within the top 10. A lap later, however, Larson managed to cycle past teammate Elliott to assume the lead for the first time. 

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Larson led by seven-tenths of a second over teammates Elliott and Bowman while Gilliland and Wallace followed suit in the top five. Behind, Truex, Chastain, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Gibbs were racing in the top 10 while Chris Buescher, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Preece, Denny Hamlin, John Hunter Nemechek, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, rookie Josh Berry, Austin Cindric and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were running in the top 20. 

Fifteen laps later and with the track slowing drying, Larson retained the lead by a second over Wallace while Bowman, Truex and Elliott trailed in the top five. Behind, Gilliland dropped to sixth ahead of Chastain, Logano, Buescher and Preece while Hamlin and Byron were mired in 12th and 13th behind Suarez. 

Another five laps later, the event’s competition caution flew as Larson was still leading by a second over Wallace. By then, NASCAR deemed the track dry and allowed the teams to pit for slick tires. Once pit road became accessible for the field following a brief jet-drying period, the field led by Larson pitted through a non-competitive pace for the slick tires, which allowed the competitors running in their respective positions to retain their spots as Larson retained and exited pit road first ahead of Wallace, Elliott, Bowman and Chastain. 

When the event restarted under green on Lap 48 following an extensive caution period, Larson and Wallace battled dead even for the lead for a full lap as Wallace, who was running his No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota Camry XSE on the outside lane and trying to pin Larson on the bottom on the track while remaining in the driest line as far as possible, led the proceeding lap by a hair. With Wallace and Larson battling in tight quarters for the lead through and past the Lap 50 mark, Bowman followed suit in third while Truex and Gilliland trailed in the top five. Following their intense early battle, Larson managed to rocket ahead of Wallace and have the lead under his authority by Lap 53.    

Just past the Lap 60 mark, Larson, who was clocking in fast lap times on the dry tires, was ahead by three-tenths of a second over Wallace followed by Bowman, Truex and Gilliland while Elliott trailed in sixth ahead of Logano, Chastain, Suarez and Buescher.  

Three laps later, the event’s second caution period flew after Josh Berry, who caught Suarez for ninth place, bumped and sent Suarez for a smoky slide entering Turn 1 before Suarez spun his No. 99 Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 below the track as he was dodged by oncoming traffic. Suarez’s incident was enough for the first stage period scheduled to conclude on Lap 70 to end under caution as the leader Larson captured his third Cup stage victory of the 2024 season. Wallace followed suit in second followed by Bowman, Truex and Logano while Gilliland, Elliott, Chastain, Berry and Preece were scored in the top 10. 

Under the stage break, the field led by Larson returned to pit road for service, with pit road deemed dry enough for competitive pit stops. Following the pit services, Larson retained the lead after he exited first while Wallace, Bowman, Truex, Elliott, Logano, Chastain, Berry, Preece and Gilliland followed suit. 

The second stage period started on Lap 79 as Larson and Wallace occupied the front row. At the start, Larson muscled ahead with a slight advantage over Wallace through the first two turns and the backstretch until Larson cleared him and had both lanes under his control during the following lap. With Larson leading Wallace and the field behind jostling for positions, Truex overtook Bowman for third while Logano was trying to fend off Berry and Elliott for fifth place ahead of Chastain, Gilliland and Preece.  

By Lap 90, Larson stretched his advantage to a second over Wallace followed by Truex, who trailed the lead by one-and-a-half seconds, while Berry was up to fourth place ahead of Bowman. Larson would continue to lead by more than two seconds over Wallace at the Lap 100 mark while Truex, Berry and Logano were scored in the top five. By then, Christopher Bell was scored in 10th place as he was running in front of Noah Gragson, Buescher, Tyler Reddick, Preece and Ty Gibbs as Hamlin was mired in 17th in between Brad Keselowski and William Byron, who lost a bevy of spots on pit road during the first stage break period after getting blocked by Preece in his pit stall. In addition, Kyle Busch was in 20th behind teammate Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney was mired in 27th behind rookie Carson Hocevar and Chase Briscoe was in 30th ahead of Harrison Burton and Suarez. 

On Lap 122 and with Larson leading by six-tenths of a second over Truex, green flag pit stops commenced as Hamlin, Keselowski, Briscoe and Michael McDowell pitted along with Berry, Gibbs, Kyle Busch, Preece and Kaz Grala. Truex would pit by Lap 124 and a bevy of names including Buescher, Chastain, Reddick, Byron, Erik Jones, Daniel Hemric, Bell, Austin Dillon, Elliott, Logano, Austin Cindric and others pitted during the proceeding laps as Larson continued to lead just past the Lap 130 mark. 

Nearing the Lap 140 mark, Larson, who had yet to pit and who was being overtaken by a handful of competitors who pitted and were trying to un-lap themselves, continued to run on the track as the leader as he was ahead of runner-up Wallace by more than five seconds. Behind, Bowman was running third ahead of Gilliland while Truex, the first competitor on four fresh tires, charged his way up to fifth place. 

On Lap 150, Larson peeled off the racetrack to pit under green as Wallace cycled into the lead before Wallace pitted on Lap 152. This cycled Truex into the lead while Bowman, Berry, Logano and Bell also cycled into the top five. 

Fifteen laps later, Truex was leading by more than six seconds over both Berry and Logano while fourth-place Bell trailed by more than 10 seconds and fifth-place Buescher trailed by more than 13 seconds. Meanwhile, Keselowski, Elliott, Larson, Hamlin and Gibbs were scored in the top 10 while 16 of 36 starters were scored on the lead lap, among which included Byron, Gragson, Chastain, Reddick, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones. Meanwhile, Wallace was scored as the first competitor a lap down as he was running ahead of Preece, Blaney and Briscoe while Bowman was mired back in 23rd.  

Another four laps later, the caution flew after Kyle Busch, who was running as the final competitor in 15th place, went up the racetrack and made contact with the outside wall n between Turns 1 and 2. The caution occurred just as Wallace had overtaken Truex to cycle back on the lead lap while Erik Jones was the beneficiary of the caution period and received the free pass and cycled back on the lead lap. 

During the caution period, the lead lap field led by Truex pitted for service. Following the pit stops, Truex, who nearly made contact with Wallace as Wallace was trying to enter his pit stall, retained the lead as he exited pit road first while Logano, Berry, Bell, Buescher and Larson followed suit. Amid the pit stops, Gibbs and Preece were both penalized for speeding on pit road while Justin Haley was penalized for his crew jumping over the wall too soon. 

With the event restarting under green on Lap 177, Truex fended off Logano and Berry to retain the lead as the field fanned out through the first two turns while Blaney, who was mired in the middle of the pack, got out of the racing groove and got loose after he checked up behind Wallace and nearly got turned by teammate Cindric. With the field scattering and jostling for positions just past the Lap 185 mark, Truex retained the lead by half a second over Berry and by more than a second over third-place Logano while Larson and Hamlin followed suit in the top five. 

At the halfway mark on Lap 200, Truex continued to lead by one-and-a-half seconds over Berry followed by Logano, Larson and Hamlin while Bell, Buescher, Byron, Wallace and Reddick pursued in the top 10. Behind, Keselowski was up to 11th ahead of Gragson, Elliott, Busch and Erik Jones while Chastain, Briscoe, Gibbs, Bowman and Suarez trailed in the top 20. Gilliland, Ty Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. trailed as the final set of competitors scored on the lead lap while Harrison Burton was scored the first competitor a lap down in 24th ahead of Cindric and John Hunter Nemechek. 

Fifteen laps later, Truex stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Berry while Logano, Larson and Hamlin continued to run in the top five ahead of Bell, Buescher, Byron, Wallace and Reddick. 

When the second stage period concluded on Lap 230, Truex, who edged Bowman at the start/finish line to pin him a lap down, claimed his first Cup stage victory of the 2024 season. Berry followed suit in second along with Logano, Larson and Hamlin while Bell, Buescher, Wallace, Byron and Reddick were scored in the top 10. 

During the stage break, the lead lap field led by Truex pitted for service. Following the pit stops, Truex retained the lead after exiting first followed by Larson, Hamlin, Logano, Bell, Berry, Wallace, Byron, Keselowski and Buescher. 

With 160 laps remaining, the final stage commenced as Truex and Larson occupied the front row. At the start, Truex rocketed ahead of Larson through the first two turns to retain the lead and have both lanes to his control through the backstretch while the field behind fanned out. As Truex led the field, Larson was trying to fend off Logano and Hamlin in second place while Bell trailed in fifth ahead of Wallace, Berry and Byron. 

Twenty laps later, Truex was leading by seven-tenths of a second over Larson as Logano, Hamlin and Bell were scored in the top five while Wallace, Berry, Byron, Keselowski and Reddick trailed in the top 10, with 19 of 36 starters scored on the lead lap. 

Another 20 laps later, Truex stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Larson as Logano, Bell and Hamlin were mired in the top five. Behind, Wallace retained sixth ahead of Berry, Byron, Keselowski and Reddick while Buescher, Elliott, Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs and Erik Jones trailed in the top 15. 

Within 115 laps remaining, green flag pit stops ensued as Keselowski pitted from ninth place. Byron, Reddick, Buescher, Elliott and Gragson would pit before the leader Truex pitted two laps later followed by Larson, Byron, Logano, Hamlin, Berry, Busch, Gibbs, Erik Jones, Gragson, Bowman, Wallace and others. Once the leader Bell pitted his No. 20 Mobil 1 Toyota Camry XSE with 106 laps remaining, teammate Truex cycled back into the lead, though he had Larson closing within his rearview mirror. 

Down to the final 100 laps of the event, Truex, who was mired in lapped traffic, was leading by three-tenths of a second over Larson while third-place Hamlin trailed by six-tenths of a second as he started to close in on the two leaders. Logano and Wallace trailed by less than four seconds in the top five while Byron, Bell, Keselowski, Buescher, and Elliott were running in the top 10. Shortly after, however, Bell was assessed a drive-through penalty for speeding during his latest pit service. 

Twenty-five laps later, Truex retained the lead by six-tenths of a second over Larson and by more than a second over third-place Hamlin. Behind, Logano and Wallace continued to run fourth and fifth, respectively, while Byron, Keselowski, Buescher, Elliott and Berry were racing in the top 10. 

With less than 70 laps remaining, another cycle of green flag pit stops commenced as Reddick pitted along with Byron, Buescher, Elliott, Keselowski and Berry, who made another cycle around the track after he missed the pit entry. Truex would pit from the lead with 65 laps remaining along with Larson, Logano, Wallace and others as Larson managed to exit pit road ahead of Truex. Four laps later, however, Truex made his move beneath Larson through the frontstretch to overtake him for position entering Turn 1. He would then overtake teammate Hamlin to un-lap himself along with Larson before Hamlin pitted from the lead with 55 laps remaining. Teammate Bell would then pit from the lead during the following lap, which completed the green flag pit cycle and allowed Truex to cycle back into the lead with 53 laps remaining. 

With 40 laps remaining, Truex extended his advantage to more than two seconds over Larson while Logano, Wallace and Hamlin were racing in the top five. Truex would stretch his advantage to more than three seconds over Logano with 30 laps remaining while Larson slipped to third as he trailed by more than four seconds while running ahead of Hamlin and Wallace. 

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, Truex, who was slowly having his lap times decrease as he continued to be mired in lapped traffic, among which included Austin Cindric and Chastain, continued to lead by more than a second over Logano’s No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse while third-place Hamlin trailed within two seconds as he started to intimidate Logano for the runner-up spot. Behind, Larson retained fourth over Wallace while Byron, Keselowski, Elliott, Berry and Buescher trailed in the top 10, with Bell mired in 11th. 

With 10 laps remaining, Truex’s advantage decreased to six-tenths of a second over Logano with teammate Hamlin trailing within a second. Despite the latter two gaining ground on Truex, Truex, who lapped Chastain, managed to keep his No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry XSE out in front. Logano, however, would narrow the deficit to four-tenths of a second behind Truex while Hamlin was starting to lose ground as he trailed by a second with five laps remaining.  

Then with two laps remaining, the caution flew and the event was sent into overtime after Wallace bumped and sent Larson, who was running fourth and got loose, for a spin through the frontstretch. During the caution period, the lead lap field led by Truex pitted for service. Following the pit stops, Hamlin managed to beat teammate Truex, who had a slow pit service, and Logano off of pit road first while Larson, Byron and Elliott followed suit in the top six. Amid the pit stops, Wallace also endured a slow pit service on the left side as he dropped out of the top 10. 

At the start of the overtime period, where teammates Hamlin and Truex occupied the front row, Truex tried to side-draft Hamlin’s No. 11 Mavis Tires & Brakes Toyota Camry XSE through the first two turns, but Hamlin, who slightly went up the track through the turns, managed to muscle ahead of Truex through Turns 3 and 4. 

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Hamlin was leading ahead of teammate Truex, who was being pressured by Logano and Larson for the runner-up spot. With Logano acquiring the runner-up spot and trying to narrow the gap to himself and Hamlin through the backstretch, Hamlin managed to muscle ahead through Turns 3 and 4 and beat Logano by two-tenths of a second to claim his second checkered flag of the 2024 Cup Series season. 

With the victory, Hamlin notched his 53rd career win in the NASCAR Cup Series in his 657th series start, his fifth at Richmond and his first since winning at his home track in April 2022. He also joined William Byron as drivers to achieve multiple Cup victories seven events into the 2024 season while also recording the third victory of the season for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.

“This is a team win, for sure,” Hamlin, who praised his pit crew, said on FOX. “This trophy needs to go to each one of these pit crew members. They just did an amazing job. They’ve been killing it all year. Man, we’ve got some good runs with [sponsor Mavis Tires & Brakes]. Such a great feeling when you know you can come in and have a pit crew like that.” 

Logano, who had finished no higher than ninth during the first six events on the schedule, notched a strong runner-up result followed by Larson and Truex, where the former rubbed and edged Truex at the finish line to claim third place moments after Truex had veered left and ran into the side of Larson through the backstretch. 

Seconds after the checkered flag, however, Truex proceeded to ram into the side of Larson and both rubbed fenders through the frontstretch before Truex then proceeded to run into the rear of teammate Hamlin as a gesture of displeasure for Hamlin running him up the racetrack in the first two turns during the overtime shootout. 

“It’s unfortunate,” Truex said. “Unfortunately, [losing] has happened here a few times over the years. We were in a great spot, had a great Auto-Owners Camry all night long and the guys did a really good job. Just got beat of the pits and then, [Hamlin] jumped the start and then just used me up in Turn 1. Definitely sucks, but good solid day. Another car capable of winning, so we’ll just have to come back next week, try to get them again.” 

“I will take a third [place finish] after what could’ve been a lot worse there on the frontstretch [when I spun],” Larson said. “I think [Truex] was just mad. He was mad that [Hamlin] used him up on the restart. That’s probably where it really started from and then, [Logano] got to his inside in [Turns] 1 and 2. I got in behind [Logano] and he just turned left across my nose, had me off the apron off of [Turn] 2 and I don’t know if he thought I piled it in there, but then he door-slammed me down the middle of the backstretch, so I figured in [Turns] 3 and 4, I was gonna use him up a little bit. I think he’s just more mad at Denny, but I was the closest one to take his anger out on. I’m guessing the replay looks the way I kind of saw it in Turns 1 and 2 and then, he’ll realize that and probably be alright.” 

Elliott came home in fifth place while Bell, Byron, Keselowski, Buescher and Reddick finished in the top 10. 

Notably, rookie Josh Berry notched his second top-12 result of the season by finishing 11th, Wallace ended up 13th, Chastain settled in 15th ahead of Ty Gibbs and Bowman, Blaney rallied to finish 19th ahead of Kyle Busch and Suarez ended up 22nd.

There were 16 lead changes for seven different leaders. The race featured five cautions for 54 laps. In addition, all 36 starters finished the event while 22 of 36 finished on the lead lap. 

Following the seventh event of the 2024 Cup Series season, Martin Truex Jr. continues to lead the regular-season standings by 14 points over Kyle Larson, 18 over Denny Hamlin, 34 over Ty Gibbs and 51 over Ryan Blaney. 


1. Denny Hamlin, 17 laps led

2. Joey Logano 

3. Kyle Larson, 144 laps led, Stage 1 winner 

4. Martin Truex Jr., 228 laps led, Stage 2 winner 

5. Chase Elliott, five laps led 

6. Christopher Bell, nine laps led 

7. William Byron 

8. Brad Keselowski 

9. Chris Buescher 

10. Tyler Reddick  

11. Josh Berry, two laps led 

12. Noah Gragson 

13. Bubba Wallace, two laps led 

14. Erik Jones 

15. Ross Chastain 

16. Ty Gibbs 

17. Alex Bowman 

18. Chase Briscoe 

19. Ryan Blaney 

20. Kyle Busch 

21. Todd Gilliland 

22. Daniel Suarez 

23. Austin Cindric, one lap down 

24. Austin Dillon, one lap down  

25. John Hunter Nemechek, one lap down 

26. Michael McDowell, one lap down 

27. Carson Hocevar, one lap down 

28. Ryan Preece, one lap down 

29. Ty Dillon, one lap down 

30. Daniel Hemric, two laps down 

31. Kaz Grala, two laps down 

32. Justin Haley, two laps down 

33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., two laps down 

34. Harrison Burton, two laps down 

35. Zane Smith, three laps down 

36. Corey LaJoie, three laps down 

Next on the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia, for the Cook Out 400. The event is scheduled to occur next Sunday, April 7, and air at 3 p.m. ET on FS1. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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