Denny Hamlin frustrates the race winner before losing the lead

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 12: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12, 2017 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota wasn’t as fast as the No. 4 Ford of race winner Kevin Harvick, but Hamlin did an admirable job of keeping Harvick behind him for 46 laps in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway.

In fact, Hamlin’s ability to frustrate Harvick’s repeated attempts to pass enabled JGR teammate Kyle Busch to catch and pass both of them for the lead. Ultimately, Busch finished second after a slow pit stop, and Hamlin came home fourth.

“I did my best to hold him (Harvick) up and frustrate him, and I probably frustrated him towards the middle part of the race,” Hamlin said. “I was just trying to lead as many laps as I could, but I knew it was just a matter of time before he got around me. It was a fun race overall and definitely good to be competitive.”