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Hamlin Dominates Nationwide Race At Richmond

Hometown hero makes good
Saturday, April 30, 2011

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Denny Hamlin celebrates winning the BUBBA Burger 250
Getty Images for NASCAR
With a dominant car that led 199 laps Friday night, Denny Hamlin won the Bubba Burger 250 Nationwide Series race when the third caution of the race slowed the action after Hamlin had taken the white flag to start Lap 251.

A day after winning his own late-model charity race at his hometown 0.75-mile short track, Hamlin covered the field in his No. 20 Toyota and picked up his first Nationwide Series victory in his second start of the season. The win was the 11th of Hamlin’s career.

With seven laps left, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ran out of gas while running second to bring out the second caution of the evening. That enabled Hamlin to pit for fuel and tires. It also set up a two-lap sprint to the finish that took the race one lap pasted its posted distance.

Paul Menard finished second, followed series points leader Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Brad Keselowski. Those were the only cars scored on the lead lap.

"Obviously, we knew that this was a big weekend for us, to try to get things back on track on the Cup side," said Hamlin, who is 17th in the Sprint Cup standings through eight races after finishing second in the series last year. "I needed a few good nights before the Cup race to kind of get the ball rolling.

"It’s been good so far this week. Obviously, the win last night … and then tonight was a little bit bigger. So, hopefully, we just continue that ladder."

On the final restart on Lap 250, Menard said stayed with Hamlin until he hit fourth gear and lost ground.

"The last restart was wild, for sure," Menard said. "I figured if I could have gotten a fender on him, I might have been able to roll around to the outside, but he got a better restart than me."

Hamlin, who started 11th, took the lead from Carl Edwards, the pole winner, on Lap 44 and expanded it through a cycle of green-flag pit stops. By the time Kelly Bires’ spin in Turn 3 caused the first caution of the race on Lap 124, Hamlin held a nine-second lead over Aric Almirola.

Seven cars were on the lead lap at that point. That number doubled for a restart on Lap 131, thanks to a free pass for Keselowski (as the highest-scored lapped car) and wave-arounds for six other drivers who skipped pit stops in exchange for passage back to the lead lap.

Almirola took a short-lived lead on Lap 132, but Hamlin got back by the No. 88 Chevrolet five laps later and stayed out front as Stenhouse and Menard passed Almirola for second and third, respectively.

Notes: Subbing for Trevor Bayne, still hospitalized as doctors diagnose the effects of an apparent insect or tick bite, Chris Buescher finished 17th in his Nationwide Series debut. … Allgaier leads the Nationwide standings by six points over Sadler. … Adam Stevens picked up his first victory as a Nationwide crew chief.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 11 20 Denny Hamlin Toyota Sport Clips 0 251 Running
2 6 33 Paul Menard Chevrolet Rheem / Menards 0 251 Running
3 5 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Wolfpack Rentals 41/0 251 Running
4 18 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 40/0 251 Running
5 10 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire / Ruby Tuesday 0 251 Running
6 17 7 Josh Wise Chevrolet NASCAR The Game 2011 38/0 250 Running
7 2 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Olympic Paint 37/0 250 Running
8 20 99 Ryan Truex * Toyota Pastrana Waltrip Racing 36/0 250 Running
9 19 70 David Stremme Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 0 250 Running
10 16 38 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Great Clips 34/0 250 Running
11 14 66 Steve Wallace Toyota 5-Hour Energy 33/0 250 Running
12 15 32 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Dollar General 32/0 250 Running
13 7 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota American Ethanol 31/0 250 Running
14 4 88 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Hellmann's 31/1 250 Running
15 3 11 Brian Scott Toyota Shore Lodge 29/0 249 Running
16 25 62 Michael Annett Toyota Pilot Flying J 28/0 249 Running
17 21 16 Chris Buescher Ford RickyVsTrevor.com 27/0 249 Running
18 12 19 Mike Bliss Chevrolet TriStar Motorsports 26/0 249 Running
19 13 87 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 25/0 248 Running
20 29 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Dodge North Texas Pipe 24/0 248 Running
21 9 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford RickyVsTrevor.com 24/1 248 Running
22 36 30 James Buescher Chevrolet ABF Freight 0 247 Running
23 24 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Co-ops USA.com 21/0 247 Running
24 22 40 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet Draw-Tite 20/0 247 Running
25 1 60 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 0 246 Running
26 32 15 Timmy Hill * Ford Lilly Trucking of Virginia 18/0 246 Running
27 26 81 Blake Koch * Dodge Daystar.com 17/0 245 Running
28 30 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Victory In Jesus 16/0 244 Running
29 28 28 Derrike Cope Dodge Bubba Bear 15/0 243 Running
30 8 18 Kelly Bires Toyota Heil Heating & Cooling Products 14/0 243 Running
31 31 39 Charles Lewandoski * Ford Rimz One Wheels Tires Accessories 13/0 243 Running
32 37 14 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty BlackOut / Reynolds 12/0 243 Running
33 23 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet G&K Services 11/0 64 Engine
34 39 52 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet TRX Alliance 10/0 54 Engine
35 40 141 Carl Long Ford Lilly Trucking of Virginia 9/0 28 Oil Pressure
36 33 79 Tim Andrews Ford 2nd Chance Motorsports 0 22 Brakes
37 41 174 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Riverwalk Cafe 7/0 11 Brakes
38 38 49 Dennis Setzer Chevrolet Jay Robinson Inc. 6/0 10 Brakes
39 35 175 Johnny Chapman Ford Rick Ware Racing 5/0 10 Vibration
40 27 44 Jeff Green Chevrolet TriStar Motorsports 4/0 6 Vibration
41 34 168 Matthew Carter Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 3/0 6 Vibration

* Denotes Rookie

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