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Mike Ford May Have Cost Denny Hamlin the Championship After Late Pit Stop

Gone was the look of confidence and the joy that NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Denny Hamlin displayed after his win in the AAA Texas 500 on Nov. 7. Instead, it was replaced with a look of repugnance, after watching his dominating performance take a backseat to Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick’s late-race fuel strategy payoff. Hamlin, who led a race high 190 laps while Johnson failed to lead a lap and collect the extra five bonus points, now finds himself having to protect a small lead against the four-time champion who looks to have the chase format mastered. Not only did Hamlin allow Johnson to close within an arms distance of winning his fifth championship, he also gave Kevin Harvick a second wind after pushing him back from being...

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