|Denny Hamlin captures first win at Bristol (Getty)|
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- They bumped, they banged and a helmet was tossed, too.
It was just like old times Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, where tempers flared again much to the delight of track owner Bruton Smith.
Denny Hamlin didn't mind, either. He used an old-school "slide job" to make a late pass for the lead that led to his first career Bristol win. More important, the victory was the third of the season for Hamlin and moved him into a four-way tie for the top seed in NASCAR's championship race.
"You struggle to say what it means because I grew up watching this race and all the great finishes," Hamlin said. "This is just a milestone race that you always want to win. They've got one of the best trophies of all tracks and it's going to be one of my prized possessions and it's obviously my biggest win."
Hamlin flirted with Carl Edwards for the lead late in the race, and set up the move with 39 laps remaining Saturday night. Hamlin slid his way past Edwards on a track that was ground this summer by Smith in an effort to bring back excitement.
Edwards tried but failed to use a cross-over move to get back in front, and Hamlin drove away to the win.
"That's what you had to do. The only thing you could do was slide-job somebody," Hamlin said of the pass. "Bruton ground the track, but you still had the old Bristol here. It's one line, you still had to knock somebody out of the way to make a move."
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