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Hamlin faced a battle the whole race after winning the race’s first stage. “It was tough. Our car was fading a little bit. I was also getting into some spots where I was getting roughed up by some teammates, not really ours, just some of the guys that are in the battle,” Hamlin said. “I didn’t even want to be a part of it, so I would just get out of it and then I put myself in an interesting spot where the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was going for it a little bit and we were very fortunate he didn’t go for it any further than he did. We did just enough. That’s what we needed to do – is do enough to make it to Phoenix and give ourselves a shot at the championship.”
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Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. showed strength all day long, but was forced to pit from the second spot late in the race due to a loose wheel. “We had a great car all day long and just kept making adjustments waiting for it to cool off and get dark. That last run there before the final pit stop, the thing was on rails and it was perfect and we were driving away. I felt really good about it.,” Truex Jr. said. “Then we pitted and had a pretty good pit stop. Came out with the lead and right away I knew something was wrong. I was really, really tight and had a vibration. The 9 (Chase Elliott) car passed us and we started dropping and had to pit for a loose wheel. Unfortunate. I think we should be the one in victory lane right now, but you have to do it all. Just a little mistake there.”
Kyle Busch finished ninth, Erik Jones finished 12th, Christopher Bell 15th and Daniel Suárez 27th.The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Championship finale at Phoenix Raceway next Sunday afternoon, October 8th. Coverage begins at 3:00 PM ET on NBC and can be heard on MRN Radio as well as Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
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