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Denny Hamlin winning early, often in Cup Series playoff race

KEYT

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Denny Hamlin will reach the third round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs next month having faced the make-or-break pressure of the postseason only twice. Ending the first race of each postseason round in victory lane can do wonders for the blood pressure of a driver and his team. Hamlin won at Darlington to open the first round, and then he did it again at Las Vegas in the second-round opener. He is the first driver to win the first race in each of the first two stages since NASCAR introduced this playoff format in 2014.

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The Associated Press

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