Denny Hamlin holds off Martin Truex Jr to win Food City 500 at Bristol

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Denny Hamlin battled against Martin Truex Jr. for the lead in the final 50 laps of the Food City 500, and in the end, he guided the No. 11 to Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Truex had the lead late in the race, but as the two drove around lapped traffic, Hamlin got it back. Truex was on Hamlin’s tail with about four laps left. However, Truex got stuck trying to go around Justin Haley and was never able to get back on pace.


Denny Hamlin waves

Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Express Oil Change Toyota, waves to fans during driver intros prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17, 2024, in Bristol, Tennessee. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

It was Hamlin’s first win since the Bristol night race last season. He’s won four times at Bristol. It’s the 52nd win of Hamlin’s career.

The fans’ reaction to Hamlin’s win was a bit mixed. Hamlin doesn’t exactly hear a ton of cheers – as evidenced by his “I just beat your favorite driver” speech over the summer.

Tire management was the name of the game for the drivers at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. Several cautions in the first two stages forced some drivers to go through their sets of tires. Many races experienced extreme tire wear – so much so that NASCAR allowed teams to carry an extra set during the race.


Martin Truex Jr takes the lead

Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, and Bubba Wallace, driver of the No. 23 Leidos Toyota, race during the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17, 2024, in Bristol, Tennessee. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

“Once it became a tire management race, I really liked our chances, but obviously, the veteran in Martin, he knew how to do it as well. And so, we just had a great car, great team,” Hamlin told FOX’s Regan Smith after the race. “The pit crew just did a phenomenal job all day, can’t say enough about them.”

Hamlin and Truex pitted with 50 laps to go to get some fresh tires on their cars. It allowed the two to start managing their tire wear with a comfortable gap ahead of drivers battling for third, fourth and fifth positions unless there was a caution in between.

Then, Truex passed Hamlin with 17 to go as the leaders dealt with lapped traffic. Hamlin then retook the lead a few laps later. Hamlin flattened what was left of his final sets of tires during his burnout.

Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, John Hunter Nemechek, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs and Christoper Bell rounded out the top 10.

Ty Gibbs battles for the lead

Ty Gibbs, driver of the No. 54 SiriusXM Toyota, and Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, race during the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17, 2024. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)


Gibbs won the first two stages but fell off the lead lap.

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