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September 5, 2021

Denny Hamlin

Darlington, South Carolina, USA

Victory Lane Interview

An Interview with:

Q. Denny, at what point did you realize that your strategy and the car were what you needed to win this race?

DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, I knew that based off of lap times and as soon as it started getting dark, we weren't falling off as much as what we were during the day, and I was thinking in my head, I didn't want to say it on the radio because I knew my team was already thinking about it, but I'm like, seemed like we could stop one less time than what we had during the day on that last green flag run, and that's obviously the strategy that they chose. It worked out, we went long, and when we caught the caution there, it worked out great for us.

Q. You did go long and you did get fortunate and catch that caution and put a lot of people a lap down. Tell me from the driver's seat how hard it is for you to see these guys that you hadn't seen all day long blowing by you on the inside on fresh tires and just maintain that pace?

DENNY HAMLIN: Well, because that's my job, right. We talk about it all the time. He's like, I need you to optimize. I don't care if you're getting put three wide and people are blowing your doors off; you have to run the fastest lap time you can possibly run. Make them go around you, don't get out of their way. They'll get around you; they're fast enough. Just optimize the lap time.

I knew -- I got put in this situation in 2017 when we won that race, we went long, then came back on tires and won. I knew that it was all about lap time. He was playing the game or whatever the graph said, and it worked out perfect.

Q. Denny, you old grizzled vets don't like running these Xfinity Series races usually, but yesterday you seemed to embrace it. How beneficial was it to run that race yesterday to get some idea, especially down in Turn 2? How did you use that, and was it beneficial to you?

DENNY HAMLIN: It was. I thought it would be beneficial for me to jump out to the lead on the first lap and then set the tone, but these Cup guys are so good, they can watch one race and understand how far they can push it right off the bat. It wasn't much of an advantage. If anything that was kind of my weak spot through the day was Turn 2, but overall I was really happy to run yesterday because there was a lot of unknowns, and I hate that we didn't pull off the double-header, but the Sport Clips family, I appreciate them letting me do it. I get one race a year and always enjoy coming here to Darlington to do it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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