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Denny Hamlin overcomes pit woes to win Texas Cup race

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Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, fighting back from two pit road penalties in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.

The Daytona 500 winner earned his second victory of the season. It is the 33rd win of his Cup career.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 45 laps and beat Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Jimmie Johnson.

Hamlin had to overcome penalties for speeding on Lap 64 and an uncontrolled tire on Lap 173. He also missed pit road under green during a pit cycle in Stage 1 and had a slow pit stop after a tire changer dropped a pit gun.

“Just a fast car … that could really pass anyone in the field,” Hamlin told Fox. “That means a lot. It definitely was a different type of race here, trying to draft and everything and trying to get out of everyone’s way.”

Hamlin is the first driver since Brad Keselowski at Talladega on Oct. 19, 2014 to win a race after two pit penalties.

“I told them when I was making my way through the pack, ‘I know this really sucks because we’re probably not going to win with the fastest car,’ ” Hamlin said. “It was fun passing all those cars. It really was.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Joey Logano

STAGE 2 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

Race results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Kyle Busch led a race-high 66 laps but was forced to pit with 53 laps to go after making contact with the wall. He bounced back to finish 10th. Busch has finished in the top 10 in all seven races … Erik Jones claimed his second top five of the year after he spun on Lap 15 … Clint Bowyer earned his second top five and best finish of the year … Daniel Suarez earned his first top five through seven races with Stewart-Haas Racing … Jimmie Johnson claimed his first top five of the season and his first since the 2018 Coca-Cola 600.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Team Penske. The cars of Brad Keselowski (mechanical), Joey Logano (pit penalty, hood problems) and Ryan Blaney (overheating) all finished outside the top 15Kyle Larson finished 39th after he wrecked in Stage 2

NOTABLE: Jimmie Johnson led 60 laps, topping his total laps led in for the 2018 season (40 laps) … Joe Gibbs Racing has placed three cars in the top 10 in every race this season and at least one driver in the top five.

WHAT’S NEXT: Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on April 7 on FS1

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