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Hamlin perseveres in New Hampshire

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Holds off Jeff Gordon in a Chevy 1-8 sweep
July 1, 2007

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Denny Hamlin holds off Jeff Gordon at the line
CIA Stock Photo

Denny Hamlin used tire strategy to help with track position and outraced Jeff Gordon to the line to win Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

It was Hamlin's first win of the season and third career NEXTEL Cup victory.

Gordon challenged Hamlin on the final lap and the two made contact coming out of the 4th turn, but Hamlin persevered keeping his FedEx Chevy ahead of Gordon's DuPont Chevy for the win.

Martin Truex, Jr and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gave DEI the third and fourth spot. Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

Jeff Green, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-10.

Chevrolets finished first through 8th, a clean sweep to say the least.

For the better part of this season, Denny Hamlin and his pit crew have struggled to prevent one or the other from making a mistake.

Sunday, at New Hampshire International Speedway, things came together for both and Hamlin held off a charging Jeff Gordon to win the LENOX Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.

Hamlin, who had not led a lap all day and had not won a race this season, took advantage of his pit crew's work to win the 300-lap event before a capacity crowd.

His crew put him back on the track first when a caution fell with 256 laps, prompting a final stop for the closely-matched field. He stayed there the rest of the way but it took every ounce of driving skill Hamlin could muster to hold off the determined Gordon.

NASCAR’s former champion, racing without his regular crew chief, drove the final laps like a man possessed and might have overtaken Hamlin had the race not ended when it did.

Trailing Gordon was Martin Truex Jr., the hottest driver on the circuit in recent events.

Truex's teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., was fourth and Gordon’s teammate Jimmie Johnson, also without his regular crew chief, finished fifth.

Crew chiefs Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus were suspended for rules violations on NASCAR’s new car prior to the race in California last week. Both Letarte and Knaus were suspended for six races, fined $100,000 each and placed on probation until the end of the year.

Rounding out the top 10 finishers were Jeff Green, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman.

Kyle Busch was 11th and Tony Stewart 12th.

Carl Edwards, one of the race leaders and a potential winner, saw his hopes erased when a faulty jack during a pit stop cost him two laps.

Ward Burton’s bad luck continued as his Chevy spewed smoke coming out of turn four on the third lap. He drove straight to the garage and the starting field circled this one-mile track under caution for the first time on a cool, overcast New England afternoon.

Gordon needed only 25 laps to make his way from eighth to second behind pole winner Dave Blaney. On the 30th lap, the four-time champion pushed his Chevrolet past Blaney's Toyota for the lead.

The elder Busch brother, Kurt, maintained third with Reed Sorensen and Earnhardt Jr. right behind.

After several more laps, Blaney continued to slip back. At 60 laps, Blaney was 13th.

Gordon held a 2.7-second lead over Earnhardt, with Busch third, then Sorensen, Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Edwards and Truex.

Earnhardt took the lead after the pit stops for fuel and was still in front when the second caution of the day came out on lap 96 for debris.

Busch came out of the pits first, Johnson was next and Earnhardt was third.

Earnhardt brought the crowd of more than 100,000 fans to its feet when he charged past Busch for the lead on lap 105.

Another caution slowed the field on lap 126. On the restart, Johnson led a few laps before Kyle Busch and Earnhardt passed him. There was plenty of action behind the frontrunners with veteran Jeff Burton and Earnhardt teammate Truex racing their way into the top six spots.

At the halfway point (150 laps), the top 10 included: Kyle Busch, Earnhardt, Edwards, Johnson, Truex, Burton, Gordon, Hamlin, Stewart and Harvick, with Juan Pablo Montoya 11th.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 11 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Ground 190/5 300 Running
2 8 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 175/5 300 Running
3 9 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 170/5 300 Running
4 6 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 170/10 300 Running
5 10 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 160/5 300 Running
6 15 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet Haas Automation 150/0 300 Running
7 25 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet LENOX Industrial Tools 146/0 300 Running
8 7 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 142/0 300 Running
9 30 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Carhartt 143/5 300 Running
10 12 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 139/5 300 Running
11 18 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet CARQUEST / Kellogg's 135/5 300 Running
12 14 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 127/0 300 Running
13 22 99 Carl Edwards Ford Lumber Liquidators / Red Sox 129/5 300 Running
14 4 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Atlas Copco / Haas Automation 121/0 300 Running
15 32 6 David Ragan * Ford AAA 118/0 300 Running
16 38 26 Jamie McMurray Ford IRWIN Industrial Tools 115/0 300 Running
17 16 7 Robby Gordon Ford MAPEI / Menards 112/0 300 Running
18 31 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 109/0 300 Running
19 5 42 Juan Montoya * Dodge Texaco / Havoline 106/0 300 Running
20 39 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 103/0 300 Running
21 2 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 105/5 300 Running
22 19 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 97/0 300 Running
23 21 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 94/0 300 Running
24 41 14 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet Ginn Resorts 91/0 300 Running
25 28 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 88/0 300 Running
26 3 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 85/0 300 Running
27 24 40 David Stremme Dodge Coors Light Wide Mouth Can 82/0 300 Running
28 27 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 79/0 299 Running
29 1 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 81/5 299 Running
30 42 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Snickers 73/0 299 Running
31 34 16 Greg Biffle Ford Aflac 70/0 298 Running
32 13 01 Regan Smith Chevrolet U.S. Army 67/0 298 Running
33 23 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 64/0 297 Running
34 36 21 Bill Elliott Ford Little Debbie 61/0 297 Running
35 37 37 Kevin Lepage Dodge MyAutoLoan.com 58/0 294 Running
36 43 49 Chad Chaffin Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 55/0 293 Running
37 20 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Camping World/ RVs.com 52/0 293 Running
38 17 00 David Reutimann * Toyota Burger King 49/0 293 Running
39 35 15 Paul Menard * Chevrolet Sylvania / Menards 46/0 286 Running
40 29 36 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 360 OTC 43/0 259 Running
41 33 13 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Ginn Resorts 40/0 197 Out of Race
42 40 45 John Andretti Dodge Wells Fargo 37/0 109 Out of Race
43 26 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet Lucas Oil / State Water Heaters 34/0 4 Out of Race

 

* Series rookie
+ Set by owner points
++ Champion's provisional

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