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Hamlin holds off charging Keselowski in wreck-filled Martinsville race

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Hamlin holds off charging Keselowski in wreck-filled Martinsville race
By:
Mar 29, 2015, 9:35 PM

16 cautions slowed the action today.

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Race action
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet behind the wall
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in trouble
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
Race winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson with team owner Rick Hendrick
Race winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Start: Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford leads
Race action
Jamie McMurray, Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Regan Smith, Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
David Ragan, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

A wild and unpredictable short track race at the historic Martinsville circuit was decided by a matter of tenths, Denny Hamlin taking the win over last week's race winner Brad Keselowski.

"We were right there," Keselowski said. "I tapped him just a little bit. I think we were a little faster than him, there, but I just could get under him and get past him."

Who's going to win it?

The complexion of the race ended many times in the final 50 laps. Jeff Gordon looked like he might collect yet another grandfather clock until a heartbreaking speeding penalty sent him to the rear for a restart.

Tony Stewart stayed out but was overtaken by Matt Kenseth with just 30 laps left. A few laps later, Denny Hamlin made a move to displace his JGR teammate.

"We just couldn't go on that short run and kept falling back," Kenseth said.

We had a very fast car but, obviously, some pit road issues, but we overcame it

Denny Hamlin

 

Hamlin holds on

Hamlin spent the rest of the race stalked by the Penske duo and as the checkered flag neared, Keselowski started looking to the outside of the Toyota and using the bumper.

In the final corner, Hamlin was shoved out of the turn in a four wheel slide, but he held onto it to take his fifth victory at Martinsville and the 25th of his career.

"We had a very fast car but, obviously, some pit road issues, but we overcame it," Hamlin said. "I tried (to manipulate his restarting position), but sometimes it messes you up with penalties. It worked out for us the last time, though."

Logano's misses out on weekend sweep

Logano led 108 laps before spinning as a result of an incident with Michael Annett that brought out the ninth of 16 cautions on lap 220. After restarting in the back, Logano was in the top-five by a restart with 61 laps to go. He missed out on the weekend sweep after winning Saturday's Truck race.

"We obviously had a good start to the race, leading a lot of laps," Logano said. "Just didn't have enough for those last two cars at the end."

Harvick led a race-high 154 laps by the time he lost the lead to Hamlin on lap 398. Harvick lost additional spots in the final 100 laps and wound up eighth at the finish, ending his string of consecutive top-two finishes at eighth.

Best of the rest

Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, and David Ragan rounded out the top five, making three out of the first five Gibbs cars. The rest of the top ten was filled by Martin Truex Jr., Danica Patrick (who tied Janet Guthrie for most top tens in Sprint Cup history for female driver), Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon (who rebounded from late pit road penalty), and Jamie McMurray. 

Pos   Driver   Car   Time/Gap
1 Denny Hamlin Toyota 3h49:13.000 
2 Brad Keselowski Ford 0.186
3 Joey Logano Ford 1.610
4 Matt Kenseth Toyota 4.627
5 David Ragan Toyota 4.810
6 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 5.682
7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 6.925
8 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 7.205
9 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 7.610
10 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 8.955
11 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 9.260
12 Aric Almirola Ford 9.389
13 Clint Bowyer Toyota 10.404
14 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 11.651
15 Casey Mears Chevrolet 12.465
16 Regan Smith Chevrolet 12.654
17 Carl Edwards Toyota 13.490
18 Trevor Bayne Ford 13.840
19 Greg Biffle Ford 15.254
20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 16.158
21 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 20.853
22 Cole Whitt Ford 1 Lap
23 Paul Menard Chevrolet 1 Lap
24 Chris Buescher Ford 1 Lap
25 David Gilliland Ford 1 Lap
26 J.J. Yeley Toyota 3 Laps
27 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 4 Laps
28 Brett Moffitt Toyota 4 Laps
29 Jeb Burton Toyota 5 Laps
30 Josh Wise Ford 5 Laps
31 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 6 Laps
32 Sam Hornish Jr. Ford 7 Laps
33 Alex Kennedy Chevrolet 8 Laps
34 Mike Bliss Ford 9 Laps
35 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 32 Laps
36 D.Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 47 Laps
37 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 56 Laps
38 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 73 Laps
39 Michael Annett Chevrolet 111 Laps
40 R.Stenhouse Jr. Ford 136 Laps
41 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Electrical
42 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 172 Laps
43 A.J.Allmendinger Chevrolet Oil leak
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Earnhardt can't escape trouble at Martinsville

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With a little luck, Danica Patrick survives carnage and finishes seventh at Martinsville

With a little luck, Danica Patrick survives carnage and finishes seventh at Martinsville
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