Denny Hamlin stepped out of his car, pointed into the air and took a mighty swing of an invisible baseball bat. Like Babe Ruth did before him (or so the legend goes), Hamlin had called his shot.
The top winner in NASCAR’s regular season earned his series-leading fifth victory of the year Sunday at Loudon, N.H., backing up a tweet of “We will win” with a mistake-free and dominating run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the second event of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“You don’t want to sound too cocky, but I knew what we were capable of,” said Hamlin, who was 32nd in qualifying after his crew put the wrong pressure in his tires. “I know we made a couple of big mistakes, but I said we were fast enough to make it up and we did.”
It was the 100th career victory for team owner Joe Gibbs, who also won three Super Bowls as the coach of the Washington Redskins. And it came with a little teamwork, too, when Kyle Busch slowed down to help suck some debris off the front of Hamlin’s car and propel him to victory.
Johnson will head into Dover, Del., one of his top tracks, one point ahead of Chicago winner Brad Keselowski, who was sixth Sunday. Jeff Gordon, who was the last man to qualify for the Chase, was third.
Hamlin improved to third in the Chase, seven points behind Johnson.
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix for the second straight year, jumping up to second place in the Formula One drivers’ championship.
Vettel inherited the lead from pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, who led the race until a gearbox failure on lap 22 forced him to drop out. It was Vettel’s second win of the season, the first coming at Bahrain.
Antron Brown raced to his fifth Top Fuel victory of the season to move in to a tie for the points lead, beating teammate Spencer Massey in the final of the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Ennis, Texas.
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