BRISTOL, Tenn. – The first thing Denny Hamlin did after winning Saturday’s Bristol Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway was apologize to the man he beat to the finish line.
With 11 laps left in the grueling 500-lap event, Hamlin drove to the inside of Matt DiBenedetto and cleared him from the lead. Roughly three minutes later, Hamlin crossed the stripe .502 seconds ahead of the Leavine Family Racing Toyota and handed DiBenedetto his second major heartache of a difficult week.
On Tuesday, DiBenedetto learned he would not be returning to the LFR Camry next year. But on Saturday night, he put that behind him and drove with the purpose and tenacity of a driver with something to prove.
Brad Keselowski ran third, followed by Kyle Busch, who benefited from an opportune caution shortly before he would have had to make a green-flag pit stop. Chase Elliott came home fifth.