Denny Hamlin celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Tyler Barrick/Getty Photo / August 25, 2012)

While his pit strategy was unique, it was the move on the track that got Denny Hamlin and the FedEx team their first career Bristol win. With less than 40 laps to go, Hamlin made a slide move on Carl Edwards, who then tapped his rear bumper, but was able to hang on and pull away in Saturday’s IRWIN Tools Night Race. This is Hamlin’s third win of the 2012 season. However, the coolest state of the night is that Hamlin’s win gave the #11 it’s 200th ever victory.

With Saturday’s victory, Hamlin is now tied with Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Tony Stewart for the most wins in 2012. However, Hamlin didn’t clinch a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup this evening. The only drivers to do so were Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, and NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

This is my biggest win,” said Denny Hamlin in Gatorade Victory Lane. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been this competitive at Bristol.”

Being the third race of the weekend on the new surface, this one was definitely filled with more emotion and will have the fans talking. The race had 13 cautions, which isn’t a record for the .533-mile track.

The most talked about caution will more than likely be the one between Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth on Lap 332. Stewart definitely had the faster car but it was Kenseth who had the lead, and the two cars  would collide as they entered Turn 4.  Stewart would climb out of his No. 14 and sling his helmet into the nose of Kenseth’s car before taking the mandatory trip to the infield care center before being released.

Stewart will later tell reporters, “I’m going to run over him every chance I’ve got from now till the end of the year — every chance I’ve got.”

Danica Patrick, who was making her fourth Sprint Cup Series start and first at Bristol Motor Speedway, was also involved in a caution. Instead of throwing her helmet like her boss, she wagged her finger at the person, Regan Smith, who wrecked her.

“I haven’t seen the replay, but I’d love to see it,” said Patrick. “We were just racing hard, this is Bristol, this is why people love this track because … you see tempers flare.”

Fireworks definitely returned to Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

The next race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is Sunday, September 2nd at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the AdvoCare 500.

Unofficial Race Results:

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Brian Vickers
  5. Marcos Ambrose
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Clint Bowyer
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Kasey Kahne
  10. Paul Menard
  11. Martin Truex Jr.
  12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  13. Juan Pablo Montoya
  14. Bobby Labonte
  15. Kevin Harvick
  16. Regan Smith
  17. Jamie McMurray
  18. Travis Kvapil
  19. Greg Biffle
  20. David Gilliland
  21. Casey Mears
  22. Carl Edwards
  23. Michael McDowell
  24. Landon Cassill
  25. Matt Kenseth
  26. Dave Blaney
  27. Tony Stewart
  28. Kurt Busch
  29. Danica Patrick
  30. Brad Keselowski
  31. Jason Leffler
  32. David Ragan
  33. Jeff Burton
  34. Sam Hornish Jr.
  35. Aric Almirola
  36. Ryan Newman
  37. David Stremme
  38. Josh Wise
  39. Joe Nemechek
  40. Stephen Leicht
  41. Scott Riggs
  42. Ken Schrader
  43. Mike Bliss