Found October 28, 2012 on
Start 'N' Park Blog:
If you had to pick any driver to come from the back of the field during a 200-lap race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the discussion wouldn’t go much further than the name Denny Hamlin. After rain halted NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying twice and the session ended just prior to the start of Sprint Cup Series practice, Hamlin – who is still in the heat of the Chase for the Sprint Cup – elected to hop in his No. 11 Camry and take the penalty of starting at the back off the grid for the Kroger 200.
Once inside the cockpit of Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) No. 51 Toyota Tundra, the Virginia native methodically worked his way towards the front of the field. Hamlin had made his way to the runner-up spot by the time that the final caution of the race occurred on lap 188. On the ensuing restart, race-leader Matt Crafton ran the No. 51 Tundra up the hill as the two Toyota’s raced side-by-side for the lead into Turn 1. Crafton maintained the lead down the backstretch, but Hamlin executed the perfect bump-and-run going into Turn 3 and then clocked out over the final four laps. By the time the checkered flag waved, Hamlin had distanced himself from the rest of the field by 1.932 seconds en route to his sixth career NASCAR victory at his home-state venue.
“I love this place and, man, that’s short track racing at its finest,” said Hamlin, who picked up his second victory in four career starts for KBM. “I gave the 88 (Matt Crafton) extra room on the outside. I went to the second lane and didn’t want to crowd him into (turn) one and tried to pass him on the outside and he shoved up into me and pushed me into the third groove. I just got back to him, so I didn’t wreck him or anything like that — you’re going have contact at Martinsville. I would expect the same thing from anyone else. I tell you I’ve lost a bunch that way and just proud of this whole effort. I have to thank everyone from Toyota for putting this deal together — they didn’t really have much of a sponsor for it – thanks to everyone at KBM for having me back. Just got to thank everyone who is a part of this program because I don’t get to race these races that often, so I’ve got to take advantage of them when I do.”
After pacing the field during final Truck Series practice on Friday afternoon, Hamlin earned the honor of being the last Truck to take to ‘The Paperclip’ for Saturday morning’s qualifying session. After earning the fifth starting position, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver headed for the Sprint Cup Series garage for final practice.
Hamlin reached the top 10 for the first time on lap 55 and by lap 90 had moved his way into the top-three. When a one-car accident slowed the field for the third time on lap 94, veteran crew chief Rick Ren summoned his driver to pit road for the first time. The over-the-wall crew executed a four-tire and fuel stop and returned their driver to the track scored in the sixth position.
On lap 152, the No. 51 Tundra was scored in the fourth position when a caution occurred. Hamlin, who communicated that his Toyota had gotten too loose, came down pit road again for four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and another air pressure adjustment.
The race went back green on lap 159, but the race was slowed again by another caution on lap 165 with Hamlin in the fourth position. Hamlin, who restarted from the outside lane, radioed to his crew, “If I’m able to get to the bottom on this restart without losing positions, we can win this thing.”
The veteran driver battled his way into the second position shortly after the restart, where he would remain until the final caution of the race slowed the field on lap 188. On the final restart, Hamlin wouldn’t be denied the victory, as he muscled his way into the lead and checked out on the field.
The win was Hamlin’s sixth across NASCAR’s top-three divisions at his home-state track. Nelson Piquet Jr. finished in the second spot and Joey Coulter finished third. Crafton and Scott Riggs rounded out the top-five finishers. Hamlin’s teammate Brian Scott came home 10th after spending much of the race inside the top-five.
There were seven caution periods for 40 laps. Five different drivers led at least one lap, exchanging the lead 40 times, including Hamlin who led once for six laps. Only five drivers failed to finish the race.
Germàn Quiroga will make his second 2012 Truck Series start for KBM when the NASCAR’s third division returns to action Friday, Nov. 2, driving the NET10 Wireless® Tundra in the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race begins at 8 p.m. ET, with SPEED’s live coverage commencing with the NCWTS Setup Show at 7:30 p.m. ET.
BEST OF MAXIM
Denny Hamlin didn't receive the homecoming he had hoped for at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.
The Virginia native entered the weekend third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, 20 points behind then-leader Brad Keselowski.
However, although he fought back from several setbacks in the race, Hamlin couldn't overcome electrical issues.
"It's going (expletive) haywire...
Denny Hamlin’s team worked feverishly to get the No. 11 car back on track, after electrical issues sent them to the garage Sunday at Martinsville. Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR
By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @Tobalical
And then there were two. Just when it was looking like a three man race for the championship between Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski...
The drivers are at Martinsville for the Tums Fast Relief 500 today for the seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase race. Six-time Martinsville race winner, Jimmie Johnson is on the pole, his speed of 927.598 edged out Brian Vickers for the top spot, who is making his last start of 2012 season, in the #55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. Johnson has finished in the top ten in 18...
Denny Hamlin showed just why he is a master of Martinsville Speedway Saturday.
Making a rare appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Hamlin started from the rear after missing the drivers' meeting because of a conflict with Sprint Cup practice, then immediately began to work his way through traffic. He bumped and banged his way to the front, finally taking the lead...
After this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway and looking forward, I feel like we're down to three, maybe three-and-a-half men, who have a shot at the championship.
Denny Hamlin and his group took such a hit after the mechanical failure at Martinsville that being able to recover from the amount of points they lost in Sunday's race is going to be next to impossible...
Denny Hamlin spoke to the media after winning Saturday’s Kroger 200 from the Martinsville Speedway. It was his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win following up his win in this race one year ago. It was the first win of the season for Kyle Busch Motorsports as well. Video courtesy of the NASCAR Media Group.
To Denny Hamlin, it was standard operating procedure at Martinsville Speedway.
To Matt Crafton, it was an unjustified bulldozer move.
Regardless of the point of view, Hamlin won Saturday’s Kroger 200 with an aggressive pass after a restart with eight laps left and showed no regret in claiming his second victory at the 0.526-mile track and his second win in 15 career Camping World...
photo credit: getty images
DENNY HAMLIN - WINNER
#11 FedEx Express Toyota
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.6
Five wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles
Average finish of 11.9
Led 22 races for 1,168 laps
Martinsville Speedway Outlook:
Four wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles
Average finish of 6.4 in 14 races
Honestly, everything kind of unfolded Sunday afternoon to some degree the way it was anticipated at Martinsville Speedway.
We talked about it a lot pre-Martinsville. We knew we would have a fair amount of cautions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race; we had 11 cautions for 64 laps. At the same time, we cycled through one set of green-flag pit stops, so all that was pretty much in line...
Denny Hamlin led the way with a lap of 19.616 seconds in the final practice for the Kroger 200 from Martinsville. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Blaney, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, and Kevin Harvick.
DrawTite / MOPAR RAM
ZECOL / Menards...