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Late pass propels Hamlin to victory in Bristol

August 27, 2012, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com

Denny Hamlin's pass of Carl Edwards on lap 462 powered the No. 11 team to their third win of the season (Getty).

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Carl Edwards was holding on. Denny Hamlin was coming. And neither wanted to relinquish the lead Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

But Hamlin took it, by virtue of a game-changing pass on Edwards that put him at the front for good. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver fought his way past his Roush-Fenway rival with 39 laps remaining, and led the rest of the way en route to his first career victory on the famed Tennessee short track.

UPS... Game Changing Moments

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But he had to get past Edwards first, and the No. 99 car wasn't giving up the spot easily. Edwards had led 45 of 46 laps to that point, although he had to stay out of the pits to gain the track position to do it. Hamlin pulled up to the rear of Edwards' car and got the Ford just loose enough that he was able to slip by. Once in front, Hamlin was banged from behind by Edwards, who used the contact to get back in front.

He couldn't stay there, though. Hamlin came right back, overpowering Edwards to grab the lead for the final time and run almost uncontested the rest of the way. Although Edwards eventually ran out of fuel, the pass enabled Hamlin to get clear enough of the competition that eventual runner-up Jimmie Johnson wasn't able to challenge him at the end.

"The best car won tonight," Hamlin said, "no doubt about it."