Denny Hamlin beat Matt DiBenedetto by feet to win at Talladega in a marathon of a race that had an absurdly ridiculous finish.
Hamlin is locked into the third round of the playoffs with the win. His winning pass came as he went to the apron in turn four to avoid William Byron’s car as Byron almost spun around. Byron saved the car and kept going as Hamlin ended up beating Matt DiBenedetto and Byron to the finish line.
Hamlin went below the yellow line when he went to the apron. That’s typically against NASCAR rules. But NASCAR ruled that he was avoiding Byron’s car — and yes, Byron did a heck of a job to not crash — and gave Hamlin his seventh win of the season.
DiBenedetto got his second-place finish taken away after the race because he was ruled to have forceed Byron below the yellow line before Hamlin made his winning move below the yellow line. NASCAR’s yellow line only exists at Daytona and Talladega and the sanctioning body says that drivers can’t block other drivers below the line and can’t make passes themselves below that line.
If you’re not confused, we’re surprised. The easiest thing NASCAR can do is simply get rid of the yellow line. It causes more complications than solved problems.