Denny Hamlin reaches 40-win milestone on long day for NASCAR in South Florida

AP photo by Wilfredo Lee / Denny Hamlin crosses the finish line to win Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race in Homestead, Fla.

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Denny Hamlin found the magic at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Again.

Hamlin took the lead for the final time with 30 laps left Sunday and held off Chase Elliott for his record-tying third NASCAR Cup Series victory at the South Florida track.

Former drivers Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart are the other three-time winners at HMS. Hamlin joined the club after battling Elliott most of the night.

"This one was real special," said Hamlin, who raced to his third victory of the season and 40th overall on NASCAR's top tier. Among active drivers, he trails only seven-time Cup Series season champion Jimmie Johnson (83), who plans to retire at the end of this year; Kyle Busch (56), whose two Cup Series titles includes the 2019 crown; and 2014 season champion Kevin Harvick (51).

Hamlin,