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“Just Push Her”: Denny Hamlin Asks Tony Stewart’s Sensation To Move Hailie Deegan Out of His Way

Published 04/23/2024, 1:04 AM EDT

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The NASCAR Cup weekend at the Talladega Superspeedway has concluded. Only the Cup and Xfinity Series competed this weekend, with the Truck drivers earning a break. During the Xfinity Series race, Jesse Love snatched his first career win for Chevrolet. Behind him on the track was Stewart-Haas Racing driver Riley Herbst, who came close to victory but let it slip. In light of this, Denny Hamlin spoke about what Herbst could have done differently to try and win the race.

During the race, he was behind Hailie Deegan as they battled up the front. Unfortunately, he lost valuable momentum, as did she, on the final lap, and Love made short work of them. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver suggested that he was too gentlemanly, so both of them suffered from it. Herbst clinched his first and only win in 2023 at Las Vegas, but victory has been hard to come by ever since.

Denny Hamlin broke down what went wrong in the race

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Hamlin said on his podcast, “When he comes up to her, just push her. Just push her, because that keeps his momentum going. It gains her momentum, you’re using her to keep advancing your position. He probably should push her to where she gets beside Jesse Love or whoever. I think she was probably 3rd or 4th or something like that. Use her to advance yourself to the next group of cars, and then the next group of cars.”

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USA Today via Reuters

According to the #11 driver, Herbst and Deegan could have worked together to claw their way to the front. If they had worked in tandem, the advantage that Love enjoyed, could have shrunk. As it happened, Riley Herbst had an adventurous race, getting caught up in a few incidents. Among them, he had a run-in with Justin Allgaier, where the latter ended up hitting the wall hard. Allgaier’s race was over at the end of Stage 1, while Herbst lived to fight another day.

The JGR star did not lump all the blame on Tony Stewart’s Xfinity driver

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Hamlin continued, “It’s not all Riley, I’m saying the whole Top 10 was just so disorganised, that it created an easy win for Jesse Love. He never really had to defend anything, because they were all fighting just amongst themselves. You have that too, when you have cars, this is their best team finish, they car about winning, but like ‘Oh my God! I’m running 6th! I gotta finish 5th, it’s gonna be awesome for us.'”

For Jesse Love, this was his redemption arc, after having a win cruelly snatched from his grasp earlier this year at Raptor King of Tough 250. At that time, he was in a prime position to earn a maiden Cup win, but his car was among the few to run out of fuel before the end. After rueing what could have been, Jesse Love must have been really desperate, and this time around, he proved that he could learn from his mistakes.

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Written by:

Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a Senior NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports, with an impressive record of over 14K articles. From F1 driver Pierre Gasly to Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino, Dhruv has interviewed several racers, establishing himself as an authoritative voice in the world of motorsports. He not only writes engaging content but helps connect readers with some of the biggest racing names thanks to his ability to churn out exclusive interviews.
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Edited by:

Tushhita Barua