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Denny Hamlin Wins  Kansas Cup race with a tapping and passing On Kyle Larson.

Denny Hamlin won in the final lap in the Kansas Cup race by tapping and passing Kyle Larson.

Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin put on a dramatic finish Sunday on the final lap of the NASCAR Cup race at Kansas.

On the white-like lap, Larson

was leading as they entered

turns one and two, and at the

exit of turn 2, Hamlin was able

to pull up and my contact with

Larson's back bumper.

But Hamlin was able to maintain car control and keep Hamlin behind him. Still, as both cars raced down the straightaway, Danny Hamlin made contact with Larson's bumper again, sent Larson into the outside retaining wall, took over the lead, and allowed him to drive on to the win.

After Lawrence made contact with the outside wall, he was able to get control of his car and drove to a second-place finish.

 Hamlin emerged victorious for the fourth time at Kansas, securing his 49th Cup career win. Additionally, he clinched the stage win by leading for 34 laps in the first stage.


Kyle Larson Takes Martinsville Cup Win

After a two-tire call on his final pit stop, Kyle Larson drove past Joey Logano and then away from the rest of the field to win the NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway, earning his first win at Martinsville Speedway. Larson's win is the 21st of his Cup career, his second of the 2023 season, and his second in the last three races after previously winning at Richmond Raceway.


With a variety of strategies playing out during the race's final caution, crew chief Cliff Daniels elected to put two tires on Larson's car on his final stop. That put Larson ahead of Chase Briscoe on four tires and behind only four cars led by Logano, who elected to stay out to gain track position. After disposing of the other three cars on old tires, Larson got physical to complete the winning pass on Logano, driving away to earn his first Grandfather Clock and the 28th win by Hendrick Motorsports at Martinsville.

By his own admission, Martinsville hadn't been one of Kyle Larson's favorite tracks. And through much of Sunday's 400 laps, it didn't look as though Larson was bound for Victory Lane -- until the late stages of the race, when the track began to change and circumstances put Larson closer and closer to the front.


"I never, ever would have thought that I would've won here at Martinsville," Larson told Fox Sports. "This place has been so tough on me, just does not suit my driving style at all. I like to charge the center [of the corner], I like to roll momentum, and that's just not what this place is like. But thanks to Cliff Daniels and everybody for making me feel like I know what I'm doing sometimes around here."


Hendrick's 28th win at Martinsville is also the 295th victory in the history of the company, putting them just five wins away from 300 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Hendrick's Martinsville mark, which dates back to the company's very first win with Geoff Bodine in 1984, is the most wins by any one organization at any one racetrack in the history of NASCAR.

Since the introduction of the Next Gen car, the right combination of aerodynamic package, tire wear and conditions to produce the right sort of racing at Martinsville has been tricky to land on. Passing proved difficult all day, particularly at the front of the field, putting a premium on track position and strategy.

Polesitter Ryan Preece led the opening 135 laps from the pole, but a pit road speeding penalty mired Preece back in traffic and he never saw the top 10 again. From there, it seemed as though Chase Briscoe, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin all had firm control of the race at different points -- until circumstances led to them losing the lead.

One such circumstance was a caution in the middle of a round of green flag pit stops, as the right rear tire off of Anthony Alfredo's car turned out to be a golden opportunity for several drivers who, having been mired in traffic for most of the race, ran long in hopes of catching a caution to gain track position.

One of those drivers was Joey Logano, who to that point had been unable to break out of mid-pack after having to start at the back of the field due to unapproved adjustments after qualifying. When J.J. Yeley crashed to bring out the final caution of the race, Logano again took advantage of the opportunity to gain track position, staying out and taking advantage of clean air over the final 46 laps to get a second-place finish.

Although Sunday offered a somewhat more dynamic race than last year's spring race at Martinsville, many bemoaned how difficult it was to pass for much of the race even with fresher tires and a better car, including Denny Hamlin.

"Racing is track position. This is the new NASCAR where these cars, you cannot pass," Hamlin told reporters. "You just get out front, don't mess up on pit road, don't mess up on strategy and you'll win."

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Christopher Bell arrives up at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this weekend leading the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings for only the third time in his career – including two weeks in 2022 – and equipped with some very positive momentum as the series finishes a three-race Springtime short track run in the schedule.


Bell’s points-leading position comes after his victory last week in the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway dirt race, but he has been consistently good all season. His five top-five finishes through the opening eight races are tops in the series and his six top-10 finishes are tied with Alex Bowman for most in the series.


Not only is Bell, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, currently pacing all the drivers in points, he returns to Martinsville for Sunday’s NOCO 400 (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as the most recent winner at the famous half-mile track, claiming the victory in the Playoff race there last October that put him into the Championship 4 Round for the first time in his career.


One driver Bell can expect to contend with on Sunday is perennial fan favorite and 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, who returns to competition this week at Martinsville after missing six races while healing from a broken leg, suffered in a snowboarding accident.


Elliott’s medical clearance comes at a promising time in the schedule - Martinsville has certainly been a fine track for him historically speaking. The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts there including the 2020 Playoff victory and back-to-back runner-up finishes in this spring race in 2020 and 2021.


Elliott received a Playoff waiver from NASCAR which means he can still earn a position in the 2023 Playoffs if he wins a race and is high enough in the points standings. Even after missing a month and a half, he is only 42 points behind Legacy Motor Club rookie Noah Gragson in the standings.


Elliott will be contending for his first win of the season alongside a pair of equally motivated veterans – Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. - also hoping to earn their first points-paying trophies. And these two are the winningest active drivers at Martinsville.


Virginia’s Hamlin leads all drivers with five Martinsville wins. He has 23 top-10 finishes in 34 starts – an impressive 67.6 percent – and his 2,190 career laps led is easily tops among the competition. But Hamlin’s last win at the track was in 2015. And the driver of the No. 11 JGR Toyota has had only a pair of top-10 finishes this season, however, sixth-place efforts at California’s Auto Club Speedway and Atlanta.


Truex, who drives the No. 19 JGR Toyota, started the season with a win in the non-points paying Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, but like his teammate Hamlin has only two top-10 finishes since; seventh-place efforts at Las Vegas and last week’s Bristol dirt race. Martinsville could be a reasonable place to expect a better outing. His three wins makes him second only to Hamlin in the current trophy haul. He’s got 15 top-10 finishes in 34 starts and led more than a thousand laps (1,016) in his career. He won in the 2020 and 2021 spring races but was 22nd and 20th in the two 2022 races at Martinsville.


Ross Chastain’s dramatic “Hail Melon” move on the final lap of last year’s Martinsville event launched him into NASCAR legendary status and also into the Championship 4 Round for the first time in his career. He essentially slammed his No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet against the outside wall and “floored it” driving around so quickly he set a track record speed and passed enough cars to earn a position in the Championship 4. Although NASCAR has since set rules in place that would disallow such a move now, Chastain enjoyed international celebrity status in the sport for his effort.


Both of his career top-10 finishes at the track came in 2023 – fifth place in the Spring race and fourth in the Fall race.


Practice for the NOCO 400 is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 5:20 – both will be televised on FS2.

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