“Hamlin wins at Bristol! What a performance by Denny Hamlin and the 11 team.” – Rick Allen
“If you need a driver and you’re not calling him, it’s a mistake.” – Burton Matt DiBenedetto
“This is when you have to be the sharpest, you cannot let being tired be an excuse to make a mistake.” – Jeff Burton on Matt DiBenedetto
“If you hold a guy up, he’s going to run you down, you stand a better chance of getting wrecked. That’s old school racing at Bristol, that’s using your head.” - Jeff Burton
BRISTOL, Tenn. – August 17, 2019 – Garnering his fourth victory of the 2019 season, Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shop NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night on NBCSN. Hamlin battled Matt DiBenedetto and lap traffic on the fastest half mile to earn a well-fought win.
NBC Sports’ Rick Allen called the action alongside 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns, Parker Kligerman, and Rutledge Wood reported from pit road and the grand stands.
Coverage on NBCSN began at 6 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, hosted by Krista Voda from NBC Sports’ “Peacock Pit Box” alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. Pre-race coverage on NBCSN included:
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBCSN:
Allen on end of race: Hamlin wins at Bristol! What a performance by Denny Hamlin and the 11 team.
Allen on Matt DiBenedetto finish: The almost-Cinderella story coming home in second. Career best finish for Matt DiBenedetto.
Allen with two laps to go: Denny Hamlin has fought valiantly against the Italian Stallion tonight of Matt DiBenedetto. Will there be one last push to catch up to that 11?
On Matt DiBenedetto:
Literally fighting for his livelihood. – Allen
Fighting for his life, he has a passion for racing. Look at that emotion. – Burton
If you need a driver and you’re not calling him, it’s a mistake. – Burton
With everything on this guy’s mind, his career on the line, with that much of a class act. – Letarte
Letarte on Matt DiBenedetto: The 95, I questioned if he could get through this traffic, he did it, it ended up being a better car with the 11. Matt did a wonderful job, I didn’t see him put his car in a bad position, the 11 is just better.
Burton on lead switch with 10 to go: Now all the pressure switches, it now switches to Hamlin. Now he has to be perfect in traffic. He has the better car.
Burton with 59 to go: We talk about making mistakes in traffic. Some of that’s emotional, you’re exhausted right now. This is a long, long, night. This is when you have to be the sharpest. You cannot let being tired be an excuse to make a mistake.
Allen on Matt DiBenedetto at Bristol: The reason that we’ve talked a lot about him. He’s had success at this racetrack. This is where he got his first top 10 finish.
Allen on winning at Bristol: It’s such a difficult race to win, and so much prestige behind winning at Bristol.
Burton on Matt DiBenedetto: I can give you a list of drivers that should be scared to death of Matty D because he deserves their seats.
Burton on Bristol: That’s Bristol, right? You have to push it, you have to find your limit.
Letarte on mechanical issues: The highlight reel of this race, if there was a ticker tape, it would look like a receipt at the grocery store, it would have every coupon on it, it’d be six miles long. Something’s happened to everyone.
Letarte on communicating at a loud track: I used to have a whole box of sharpies. Because if you can’t get someone’s attention, you throw a sharpie.
Letarte on racing for points: I think you need to know who’s out here racing for points, who’s out here stressed, push on ‘em, lean on ‘em.
Burton on playoff points after stage 2: Those points that Newman and Suarez gained are all because of Bowyer’s spin, Bowyer’s mistake, is what gave them the opportunity to gain those points.
Kligerman on Kurt Busch stage win: What a set of restarts by Kurt Busch….. going to the top to get that stage win.
Burton on lap traffic: This is Bristol. Why hold a guy up? If you hold a guy up, he’s gonna run you down, you stand a better chance of getting wrecked. That’s old school racing at Bristol, that’s using your head.
Allen on end of stage 1: Larson, Elliott putting on a great show. Elliott able to get passed Kyle Larson, but Larson able to fight back, takes the lead over and gets the win. Kyle Larson, winner stage 1.
Burton on Kyle Busch’s starting position: That’s motivation, if you’re Denny Hamlin and you can go put the 18 car a lap down, we talked about how many of these wins Kyle Busch has here… go take the fight to him, make his night hard.
Burton on track position: Everybody’s lined up on the bottom, you have to take your opportunities when you see ‘em…
On Jimmie Johnson missing the playoffs: Voda: To compare it to another sport, is that like Tom Brady being on the bench for the Super Bowl? Dale Jarrett: Exactly, these type things don’t happen, don’t count Jimmie Johnson out just yet. It’s been a very difficult year in a lot of ways, but I’m not ready to count him out.
DiBenedetto on moving on from the 95 Car: I don’t know my future, I wish I did, but every time a door closed, a better door has opened for me and that’s how I’m going to look at it.
Voda on 2020 racing: Leavine Family Racing announcing that it will be parting ways with Matt DiBenedetto, multiple reports have Christopher Bell taking over the 95 Car in 2020. David Ragan will step away from fulltime racing at the end of the season.
Letarte on Dale Jr. crash: I was very thankful to already be in the Bristol area on Thursday afternoon, I was able to go to the hospital to see him, Amy and Isla. And beyond that, I’d love to be able to tell you my thoughts far as my thoughts but I don’t think I have them yet…. so thankful they’re healthy, the pilots, everyone involved thankful to everyone that helped them in their time of need. As much as I love Bristol, I’m kind of ready for this race to come to an end.
Petty on the Busch Brothers at Bristol: One thing that’s really interesting to me, it just suits their style, Daytona seemed to suit Dale Jarret’s style, there are race tracks that just suit a driver and for whatever reason it suits these two brothers, they had 14 wins, throw that out the window, they have 23 top ten finishes.
Petty on Kyle Busch starting 31: Kyle Busch had an excellent point, go where they aint, go where they aint, and right now, if they’re not in the high groove he’ll venture out that way, if they’re not in the middle he’ll venture into that area