Denny Hamlin holds off Chase Elliott at Homestead for third win of 2020

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/1283/" data-ylk="slk:Denny Hamlin">Denny Hamlin</a> celebrates his third win of 2020. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Denny Hamlin celebrates his third win of 2020. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Denny Hamlin passed Chase Elliott with 28 laps to go and kept Elliott at bay to win his third race of the 2020 season Sunday night at Homestead.

Hamlin started first via a random draw, was near the front for most of the race and won the race’s first two stages. He was the only driver who led over 100 laps in the 267-lap race and was able to prevent Elliott from challenging him over the race’s final 10 percent.

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Sunday’s race at Homestead was delayed multiple times by rain and lightning. The race that was originally scheduled to go green after 3:30 p.m. ET finally finished at approximately 10:45 p.m. ET.

It’s the third win of the season for Hamlin and his second since NASCAR resumed its season during the coronavirus pandemic. Hamlin won the season-opening Daytona 500 and then won at Darlington on May 20.

Hamlin, who won at Homestead in 2009 and 2013, is one of just three non-title winning drivers to win at the track. Only Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards have also won races at Homestead without winning a Cup Series title.

Hamlin is also the first driver to three wins in the Cup Series in 2020. While Kevin Harvick has been extremely consistent and won two races and Joey Logano has also won two races this season, Hamlin is the winningest driver in the series. And he did so in his first race with crew chief Chris Gabehart back on top of his pit box. Gabehart was suspended for four races after weight fell out of Hamlin’s car at the beginning of the Coca-Cola 600.

While Elliott was second, Ryan Blaney finished third. Tyler Reddick and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five.

Hamlin is a Hall of Famer

We’ve advocated for Hamlin’s NASCAR Hall of Fame candidacy before. But it’s becoming more and more apparent that he’s a Hall-worthy driver even if he never wins a title. Sunday night’s win was his 40th win in the Cup Series and ties him with Mark Martin. The legendary Martin got his 40 wins in over 800 career Cup Series starts. Hamlin has 40 wins in just 518 starts.

And if you want to get really crazy, you can reasonably argue that Hamlin has driven in a tougher era than Martin did.

Three of those 40 wins are Daytona 500 victories, so Hamlin is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer whenever he’s finally eligible for the Hall.

Reddick and Bell finish top 10

Both Reddick and Christopher Bell got their best finishes of the season. Reddick — who won at Homestead in each of the past two seasons to win the last two Xfinity Series titles — ran in the top 10 for most of the evening while Bell finished eighth in his Leavine Family Racing Toyota. That finish was just Bell’s third top-10 of the season while Reddick is now 17th in the standings.

Points standings

1. Kevin Harvick, 463 points

2. Chase Elliott, 455

3. Joey Logano, 434

4. Brad Keselowski, 412

5. Ryan Blaney, 411

6. Martin Truex Jr., 410

7. Denny Hamlin, 3195

8. Alex Bowman, 380

9. Kyle Busch, 359

10. Kurt Busch, 338

11. Jimmie Johnson, 322

12. Clint Bowyer, 316

13. Aric Almirola, 303

14. Matt DiBenedetto, 301

15. William Byron, 291

16. Austin Dillon, 281

17. Tyler Reddick, 279

18. Erik Jones, 273

19. Chris Buescher, 233

20. Bubba Wallace, 231

Full results

1. Denny Hamlin

2. Chase Elliott

3. Ryan Blaney

4. Tyler Reddick

5. Aric Almirola

6. Kyle Busch

7. Austin Dillon

8. Christopher Bell

9. William Byron

10. Brad Keselowski

11. Clint Bowyer

12. Martin Truex Jr.

13. Bubba Wallace

14. Matt DiBenedetto

15. Michael McDowell

16. Jimmie Johnson

17. Kurt Busch

18. Alex Bowman

19. John Hunter Nemechek

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

21. Erik Jones

22. Cole Custer

23. Chris Buescher

24. Ryan Preece

25. Matt Kenseth

26. Kevin Harvick

27. Joey Logano

28. Ty Dillon

29. Corey LaJoie

30. Ryan Newman

31. Daniel Suarez

32. Brennan Poole

33. Quin Houff

34. Timmy Hill

35. BJ McLeod

36. Joey Gase

37. Josh Bilicki

38. JJ Yeley

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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