Denny Hamlin brings out caution late in Stage 1 at Texas

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Denny Hamlin spun in Turn 4 and slid through the frontstretch infield with five laps left in the first stage Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

At the end of his slide, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota dug into the grass where it met pavement and briefly went airborne, causing some damage to his front spoiler. Hamlin’s team made repairs and he was able to continue and finished 28th, multiple laps down.

“Just got up into (the traction compound) before it was really broke in and just lost control, that’s all there is to it,” Hamlin told NBCSN. “We’ll go to Phoenix and try to win.”

Hamlin entered the race second in the playoff standings, 24 points above the cutline to advance to the championship race. He heads to the final elimination race in Phoenix as the first driver below the cutoff spot, 20 points behind Joey Logano.

“The car and the effort will be there,” Hamlin said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we can go there and win, especially in these circumstances.”