Denny Hamlin ends the season with a win at Homestead – Sports activities – The Florida Occasions-Union

Don Coble

HOMESTEAD | Denny Hamlin waited until the last 300 miles of the NASCAR season for something to go right. But the wait was worth it.

After missing four races with a broken back earlier this year and battling through the worst season of his career, Hamlin’s car finally came to life over the last 200 laps, winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

Despite finishing ninth and not leading a single lap, Jimmie Johnson was putting the finishing touches to his sixth Sprint Cup Series championship in eight years.

Hamlin’s goal in the season finale wasn’t nearly as big as Johnson’s, but it was just as important. The win extended his streak from at least one win a year to eight, but most of all it seemed to give him a semblance of hope for 2014.

“Is the year over? I wanted to keep this show alive,” said Hamlin. “This is a bloody way to go out.

“It’s been a terrible year. There just weren’t many positive results. I wanted to count down the laps. They kind of admitted we weren’t going to continue the series. But after that first run, I knew we had a car that would win could. “

Matt Kenseth finished second when he fought off Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a furious final 20 round bout. Despite leading the most laps and finishing second, Kenseth was still 19 points behind Johnson.

“You seem to be able to raise the bar,” said Kenseth. “I would think the 10 races we put together [in the Chase for the Championship] would have won the championship in some of the other seasons. “

Martin Truex Jr. was fourth in the race, followed by Clint Bowyer fifth, Brad Keselowski sixth, Kyle Busch seventh, Joey Logano eighth, Johnson ninth, and Kevin Harvick tenth.

Kenseth started on pole and led 144 of the first 167 laps. But that wasn’t enough to shake Johnson, who stayed in the top 10 for most of the race.

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