Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hamlin Wins STP 500 in Martinsville

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Denny Hamlin won the STP 500 from Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.
Hamlin took the lead on a late restart and held off Brad Keselowski for the victory.  

Hamlin, who many believed had the strongest car this weekend, said he was happy to pick up his fifth Martinsville victory.

Photo courtesy Nick Laham/Getty Images
“I feel like I’ve missed out on so many grandfather clocks [Martinsville Speedway’s unique trophy] here because of mechanical issues and stuff, we just weren’t going to be denied today,” Hamlin said in victory lane.

Hamlin raced hard with Keselowski over the final 20 laps, with Keselowski getting right to Hamlin’s bumper.  Hamlin said he was glad Keselowski raced him cleanly at the end of the race.

“Hats off to Brad,” Hamlin said.  “He had an option and he took the latter, so I thank him for that.”

Keselowski had his best career finish at Martinsville on Sunday, and he said his car just came in at the right time.

“It just seemed like some runs were good on the long run and some runs we were good on the short run, and at the end we were good at the right time,” Keselowski said.  “I just couldn’t quite make the move I needed to complete the pass but I was right there.”

Keselowski said he and his team are looking forward to returning to the short track later in the season following Sunday’s strong run.  Martinsville will host the first race in the third round of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup in November.

“This is the best we’ve ever been here,” Keselowski said.  “[Crew chief] Paul Wolfe and the guys have been working to get us a little better here.  It’ll be in the Chase…and this is a good sign coming back.”

Unofficial results:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Joey Logano
4. Matt Kenseth
5. David Ragan
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Danica Patrick
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Jeff Gordon
10. Jamie McMurray
11. Kasey Kahne
12. Aric Almirola
13. Clint Bowyer
14. Kurt Busch
15. Casey Mears
16. Regan Smith
17. Carl Edwards
18. Trevor Bayne
19. Greg Biffle
20. Tony Stewart
21. Landon Cassill
22. Cole Whitt
23. Paul Menard
24. Chris Buescher
25. David Gilliland
26. J.J. Yeley
27. Ryan Newman
28. Brett Moffitt
29. Jeb Burton
30. Josh Wise
31. Matt DiBenedetto
32. Sam Hornish Jr.
33. Alex Kennedy
34. Mike Bliss
35. Jimmie Johnson
36. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
37. Alex Bowman
38. Chase Elliott
39. Michael Annett
40. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
41. Austin Dillon
42. Justin Allgaier
43. AJ Allmendinger

Photo courtesy Nick Laham/Getty Images

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