Denny Hamlin beats William Byron in Michigan Xfinity race in narrow finish
Denny Hamlin edged William Byron by 12-thousandths of a second in the closest Xfinity Series finish at Michigan International Speedway.
Byron had led at the white flag of the Irish Hills 250 after a restart with two laps to go. Hamlin caught Byron on the backstretch and the two battled all the way to the finish line.
The previous closest margin of victory - 0.192 - was in in August 2000 when Todd Bodine beat Michael Waltrip.
It is Hamlin’s 16th Xfinity win. The finish was setup by a Matt Tifft spin with five laps to go.
"(Byron) did a great job,” Hamlin told Fox Sports 1. “I knew he had a really good car during that last long run we had, he was about to pass me. He’s done a great job. ... I wanted to race him clean. I wasn’t going to turn him or anything like that. I stayed below him and it got him a little bit loose through (Turn) 1 and 2. That allowed me to get into position. Then into Turn 3, we both got sideways. He slid up enough to let just let me get to the right rear. It was just enough to drag race by him.”
For Byron, it’s the best career finish for the JR Motorsports rookie and his third top five of the season.
“We were so close, it really hurts to be that close and not win,” Byron told Fox Sports 1. "(Hamlin) got the side-draft off of me off of (Turn) 4 and that’s the run he need to the line. Just couldn’t quite get enough to get back to him ... It hurts, but we’ll get one soon.”
Filling out the top five was Byron, Elliott Sadler, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.
Stage 1 winner: Brad Keselowski
Stage 2 winner: Elliot Sadler
WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Pole-sitter Kyle Busch bounced back from a Lap 1 accident to finish fifth in his fourth Xfinity of the year ... Elliott Sadler finished third for his best result at Michigan in 13 starts ... Ty Dillon finished sixth to tie his best result of the year ... Paul Menard finished seventh for his first top-10 finish in three Xfinity starts this season.
WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Michael Annett, Ben Kennedy, JJ Yeley and Brandon Jones were in a Lap 38 wreck at the start of Stage 2 that began when Jones got loose on the backstretch. Annett, Kennedy and Yeley were eliminated from the race. Jones bounced back to finish ninth … Justin Allgaier finished 16th in his first finish outside the top 15 since Atlanta.
NOTABLE: Denny Hamlin is the 10th different driver to win a Xfinity race this season ... Joe Gibbs Racing has four wins with three different drivers.
WHAT’S NEXT: American Ethanol E15 250 at Iowa Speedway at 8:30 p.m. ET on June 24 on Fox Sports 1