By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
It was the Ford show Sunday at Talladega, leading 185 of 193 laps.
However, it didn’t stop Denny Hamlin from spoiling the Ford party as he was not only the highest non-Ford finisher, but also dashed their bid of a top-five sweep, finishing fourth in the 1000Bulbs.com 500.
Still winless this season, Hamlin gave it all he got to get his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry going and stop the Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske parade, but it would take a late caution and a trio of the Ford camp running out of fuel to get the highest finish possible.
After running most of the race outside the top-10, and at one point battling an edgy car, Hamlin was sitting 10th heading into overtime and rapidly gained spots in the final two laps. This resulted the spring 2014 winner to score his ninth top-five of the season.
While it wasn’t a race win, Hamlin’s fourth-place run left him content and felt he was indeed, best in class.
“I thought we were the next best in line today,” Hamlin said. “The Ford cars seemed to have a little more speed than us. We stayed disciplined and in line there. We chose the right line when the lines came. Got a great top-five finish today. We were almost the best in class there.”
It’s Hamlin’s sixth top-five at the treacherous 2.66-mile circuit, and the third time he’s finished fourth.
Following up his runner-up result at Dover, Hamlin’s fourth-place effort meant that he gained two spots in the standings. As a result, he’s now 13th in points, the highest of the non-Round of 12 contenders.
The No. 11 team will travel to Kansas Speedway for the running of the Hollywood Casino 400, as Hamlin seeks to improve from his back-to-back fifth finishes at the 1.5-mile circuit and score his second Kansas victory to snap his winless streak.
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