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Toyota blows the doors off of competition again

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Saturday, May 31, 2008

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Denny Hamlin won the Heluva Good! 200, his seventh victory in 101 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. This is his second victory and sixth top-10 finish in eight races in 2008.
Drew Hallowell / Getty Images for NASCAR
Denny Hamlin extended the domination of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Saturday with a convincing 1.154-second victory over Carl Edwards in the Heluva Good! 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway.

The race, which started three hours late because of rain, wasn't the only victory for Hamlin, who won for the second time this season and the seventh time in his career.

Hamlin also won $200 in side bets with Kyle Busch and Michael Waltrip when teammate Joey Logano, 18, finished sixth in his series debut. Hamlin had bet Logano would finish in the top seven, but for a while, the wagers were in jeopardy.

Hamlin's win marked the eighth straight time and 10th time in 14 Nationwide events this year that a full-time Sprint Cup driver for Joe Gibbs Racing has won a Nationwide race.

David Stremme gained track position with a two-tire pit stop on Lap 155 and held off a determined charge from fourth-place finisher David Reutimann. Greg Biffle passed Logano in the closing laps to run fifth, followed by Logano, Brad Keselowski, Mike Wallace, series points leader Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne.

"It was fairly uneventful," Hamlin said. "We just bided our time at various times during the race and pulled away at the end. If you can get out there in clean air, your car can really take off. We definitely improved on our car, and I think our car was the strongest it had been all day at the end.

Edwards had nothing for the race winner over the final 28-lap green-flag run.

"It was all right," Edwards said of the result. "Second's no fun. It's not what we come here for. But my hat's off to Denny. He did a great job. I just wish I could have got up to him."

Stremme was pleased with his car's performance, but needed to find a way to get to the front -- hence, the pit strategy on his final stop.

"We took two tires at the end, and we felt that was a good choice," said Stremme, whose previous best finish at Dover was 16th. "Our car was strong all day. We just couldn't get track position."

Logano was forced to showcase his talent early in the race, after contact with Kahne's Dodge on pit road during the race's first caution necessitated a return trip to the pits. Logano restarted 28th on Lap 26, but by the time caution flew for the second time on Lap 46, he had gained 11 positions. 

Under the subsequent 52-lap green-flag run, Logano worked his way up to eighth and gradually improved his position during the remainder of the race, until Biffle passed him in the closing laps.

"We were a sixth-place car and finished sixth," Logano said. "Overall it was a good day. I was hoping for that top five, but I screwed up in the pits and put myself in a position that I didn't need to. We'll see what happens next."

Busch led 68 laps, but a series of mishaps dropped him back in the field and ultimately knocked him out of the race. Busch entered the pits as the leader on Lap 105, but contact between his No. 32 Toyota and Keselowski's No. 88 Chevrolet brought both cars back to pit road under the third caution of the race.

Busch worked his way back to eighth, where he was running on Lap 169, when Braun Racing teammate Jason Leffler lost control of his No. 38 Toyota and knocked Busch into the Turn 2 wall. Busch, who finished 28th, held on to second place in the series standings but fell to 121 points behind Bowyer.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 18 Denny Hamlin Toyota Joe Gibbs Driven Hot Rod Oil 195/10 200 Running
2 1 60 Carl Edwards Ford Save-A-Lot 170/0 200 Running
3 18 64 David Stremme Chevrolet Atreus Homes & Communities 165/0 200 Running
4 15 99 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 160/0 200 Running
5 10 16 Greg Biffle Ford CitiFinancial 155/0 200 Running
6 9 20 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop 150/0 200 Running
7 5 88 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet U.S. Navy 146/0 200 Running
8 17 7 Mike Wallace Toyota GEICO 142/0 200 Running
9 21 2 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 138/0 200 Running
10 14 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Wisk 134/0 200 Running
11 26 66 Steve Wallace Chevrolet Atreus Homes & Communities 130/0 200 Running
12 16 29 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express 127/0 200 Running
13 8 47 Kelly Bires Ford Clorox / Giant 124/0 200 Running
14 19 25 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Ford Smithfield 121/0 200 Running
15 23 40 Dario Franchitti * Dodge Fastenal 118/0 200 Running
16 24 111 Jason Keller Chevrolet America's Incredible Pizza Company 115/0 199 Running
17 13 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet RoadLoans.com 112/0 199 Running
18 4 1 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 109/0 198 Running
19 11 22 Josh Wise Dodge Supercuts 106/0 198 Running
20 29 28 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet U.S. Border Patrol 103/0 198 Running
21 33 30 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet GrandStay / Donatos 100/0 198 Running
22 35 89 Morgan Shepherd Dodge Victory In Jesus 97/0 196 Running
23 20 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Penske Truck Rental 94/0 195 Running
24 41 4 Derrike Cope Chevrolet JVC 91/0 193 Running
25 7 5 Landon Cassill * Chevrolet Nat'l Guard / 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team 88/0 191 Running
26 42 24 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty 85/0 188 Running
27 22 38 Jason Leffler Toyota Great Clips 82/0 169 Accident
28 3 32 Kyle Busch Toyota Dollar General 84/5 168 Accident
29 28 6 David Ragan Ford Discount Tire 76/0 161 Accident
30 12 59 Marcos Ambrose Ford Kingsford Hickory Charcoal 73/0 152 Accident
31 39 81 Bryan Clauson * Dodge Vector Security 70/0 130 Handling
32 6 27 Brad Coleman Ford Scott Shop Towels / Wal-Mart 67/0 101 Accident
33 40 05 Brett Rowe Chevrolet 31-W Insulation / CertainTeed 64/0 45 Overheating
34 37 52 Donnie Neuenberger Ford Royal Farms Wraps 61/0 43 Accident
35 27 161 Kevin Lepage Ford Specialty Racing 63/5 38 Electrical
36 31 0 Kertus Davis Chevrolet Lori Morgan 55/0 12 Electrical
37 43 255 Brad Teague Chevrolet Forest City Owls / Truck Service 52/0 11 Electrical
38 32 01 J C Stout Chevrolet RaceGirl 49/0 9 Clutch
39 36 90 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 46/0 9 Vibration
40 30 331 Kenny Hendrick Chevrolet GrandStay / Donatos 43/0 8 Vibration
41 25 91 Terry Cook Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 40/0 7 Vibration
42 34 37 Burney Lamar Ford Greg Biffle Foundation 37/0 6 Transmission
43 38 84 Mike Harmon Chevrolet RaceFumes.com / MHR 34/0 4 Overheating

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