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Hamlin Wins Chevy Rock & Roll 400; Chase Field Set

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sunday, September 13, 2009

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Denny Hamlin
CIA Stock Photo
The Chase is on.

Twenty-six races into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, there are now 12 drivers with a chance to win the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The suspense of who would make that field culminated Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.

Local native Denny Hamlin from Chesapeake finally won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at his home track after coming "oh, so close" so many times before. He also did it in convincing style, battling door-to-door with Jeff Gordon along the way. It was Hamlin's second win of the season in his FedEx Toyota. He won earlier this year at Pocono.

Hamlin is one of the 12 Chase participants but his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch didn't make it. Hamlin had locked in a spot before the race but Kyle needed to finish well ahead of Brian Vickers to make it. Kyle finished fifth but Vickers was seventh and wound up grabbing the 12th spot by eight points over Busch.

Kurt Busch finished second and made the Chase. Jeff Gordon was third and in The Chase.

Everybody's favorite, Mark Martin, was fourth and secured a Chase spot and there wasn't a happier man in Virginia on Saturday night when this race ended.

Kyle finished fifth and Clint Bowyer was sixth. Vickers was seventh and former Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish finished eighth. Kevin Harvick was ninth and Ryan Newman 10th, which earned him a slot in the Chase, along with his car owner Tony Stewart, who had a rough night and wound up 17th.

Jimmy Johnson finished 11th and he's in the Chase, along with 12th-place finisher Kasey Kahne and 13th-place finisher Greg Biffle. Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya also made the Chase. It will be Montoya's first Chase as well as the first for team owner Chip Ganassi.

Former series champion Matt Kenseth finished 25th and failed to qualify for the Chase for the first time.

The first race in the Chase begins Sunday, Sept. 20 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Saturday night’s race at Richmond had so many scripts, you couldn't keep up. If so-and-so finished 20th or better, he made the Chase. If another driver finished 32nd, he made it.

This one was one for the record books, as only four drivers were guaranteed spots in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup and another eleven were in position to make it with either good luck for themselves or bad luck for others.

The ageless Martin, hoping to be one of the 12 contenders, started from the pole position after a late shower wet the track and delayed the start.

Martin kept the lead with local favorite Hamlin in his shadow. Hamlin passed Martin on Lap five.

Scott Speed brought out the first caution when he lost it off Turn 4 and hit the outside wall.

Hamlin maintained the lead after a restart and at 40 laps led Martin, Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Vickers, Harvick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Another caution slowed the field at Lap 46 when David Stremme, Reed Sorensen and Stewart tried to maneuver Turn 4 while three abreast. Sorensen and Stewart spun.

Hamlin went out front again when the race restarted on Lap 50. Another caution was necessary when Regan Smith's Chevy lost power on Lap 57.

On this restart at Lap 67, Hamlin held the lead with Gordon next, followed by Martin, Truex, Kurt Busch, Earnhardt, Harvick, Johnson, Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Montoya, Kahne, Vickers, Marcos Ambrose and Jamie McMurray. The Roush Fenway Racing drivers, at this point in the race, were pushing it to make the Chase with Edwards 20th, Biffle 24th and Kenseth 25th.

Gordon went back in front of Hamlin shortly before the 100-lap mark. A caution fell again on Lap 107.

Gordon held the lead until Hamlin slipped past on Lap 147. Another caution flew on Lap 173 for debris.

At the half-way point of 200 laps, here's how things stood: Hamlin continued to swap the lead with Gordon and Martin ran a strong third.

Another caution fell shortly after halfway when Regan Smith's bad luck continued and something broke on his car.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 3 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 195/10 400 Running
2 13 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 170/0 400 Running
3 7 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet National Guard Wounded Warrior / DuPont 170/5 400 Running
4 1 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Kellogg's / Carquest 165/5 400 Running
5 8 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 155/0 400 Running
6 18 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 150/0 400 Running
7 6 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 146/0 400 Running
8 33 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 142/0 400 Running
9 19 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 138/0 400 Running
10 21 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army Year of the NCO 134/0 400 Running
11 4 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 130/0 400 Running
12 5 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 127/0 400 Running
13 24 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 124/0 400 Running
14 27 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot 121/0 400 Running
15 10 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 118/0 400 Running
16 11 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge Reynolds Wrap 115/0 400 Running
17 29 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 112/0 400 Running
18 22 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 109/0 400 Running
19 14 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 106/0 400 Running
20 23 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 103/0 400 Running
21 15 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 100/0 400 Running
22 16 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Clorox / Kingsford / Bush's Beans 97/0 400 Running
23 17 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 94/0 400 Running
24 30 7 David Gilliland Toyota Jim Beam 91/0 400 Running
25 28 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Dewalt 88/0 400 Running
26 12 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing 85/0 400 Running
27 25 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 82/0 400 Running
28 42 98 Paul Menard Ford Turtle Wax / Menards 79/0 399 Running
29 39 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Taco Bell 76/0 399 Running
30 38 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 73/0 398 Running
31 37 96 Bobby Labonte Ford DLP 70/0 398 Running
32 40 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 72/5 398 Running
33 26 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 69/5 398 Running
34 34 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Insignia 61/0 396 Running
35 36 187 Joe Nemechek Toyota Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center 58/0 396 Running
36 20 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 55/0 396 Running
37 43 113 Max Papis * Toyota GEICO 52/0 394 Running
38 9 09 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 49/0 376 Engine
39 2 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 46/0 325 Accident
40 35 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet World Vision / Furniture Row Companies 43/0 174 Accident
41 41 36 Michael McDowell Toyota Wave Energy Drink 40/0 113 Engine
42 31 171 Mike Bliss Chevrolet TRG Motorsports 37/0 38 Transmission
43 32 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 34/0 36 Brakes

* Denotes Rookie

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