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Denny Hamlin Mounts Comeback, Wins Busch Clash

#11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Sport Clips Haircuts Toyota Camry

Denny Hamlin won from the pole — and after a late-race charge — to win the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, scoring the first victory of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

It’s Hamlin’s fourth win in the Clash and his first victory since the Clash moved to the Coliseum.

“You know I beat your favorite driver again, right?” Hamlin told the crowd post-race.

Kyle Busch battled to finish second, resulting in his third top five at at Los Angeles in three races.

Team Penske drivers Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano finished third and fourth respectively, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.

Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and William Byron completed the top 10.

The race was originally scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 4, but was moved to Feb. 3 after threats of rain on Sunday.

Hamlin and Logano lined up the front row at the start of the race, with Hamlin retaining the front spot after battling for the first three laps.

Hamlin maintained the lead until lap 50, when teammate Ty Gibbs passed the No. 11 Sports Clips Toyota for the lead. Meanwhile, Hamlin fell as far as seventh during the initial green-flag run.

The race ran green until the first caution on lap 71 for a spin by Todd Gilliland.

On the restart, Logano took the lead from Gibbs, with Busch following the No. 22 to second.

It didn’t take to long for the second caution to come out on lap 75 for John Hunter Nemechek, one lap before the halfway caution.

On the restart for the second half of the race, Larson battled his way up to the inside of Logano before a caution was thrown on lap 78 for a six-car wreck, ending with Bubba Wallace spun around.

After the fifth caution in the last eight laps for a spin by Ross Chastain and tempers on track between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell, Gibbs retook the lead and pulled away from the field.

Gibbs encountered lapped traffic in the closing stages of the race, with Logano in pursuit.

However, McDowell and Chastain got together late, setting up a 10-lap dash to the finish, where Hamlin took the lead from Gibbs and held off the No 54.

Hamlin almost took the white flag, but Gibbs was spun by Larson to set up the green-white checkered finish; Hamlin survived for the victory.

With 23 cars starting the main event, 13 drivers did not make the race following Saturday qualifying. The field was set by practice and qualifying times, rather than…

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