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Toyota Powers No. 20 Car To Ninth 2008 Victory

Nationwide Series
Saturday, July 05, 2008

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Winn-Dixie 250 Powered by Coca-Cola winner Denny Hamlin celebrates in Victory Lane
Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Same car. Same racetrack. Different driver.

The cast of characters in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Toyota is such a successful game of musical chairs that even Dale Earnhardt Jr. got confused.

Tony Stewart took the No. 20 Camry to victory lane to open the NASCAR Nationwide Series season at Daytona International Speedway in February. The car, sans Stewart, returned to the winner's circle in Friday night's Winn-Dixie 250 with Denny Hamlin behind the wheel.

Hamlin held off teammate Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer in a green-white-checkered-flag finish -- the seventh of the season in the series -- to win his second Nationwide race in the No. 20 car and his third of the season overall. In his final appearance this season in the car, which has won nine races with four different drivers, Hamlin notched the eighth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of his career.

Busch stayed in line behind his teammate over the final two laps and came home second, followed by Earnhardt, Bowyer and Brad Keselowski. Kasey Kahne, Scott Wimmer, David Stremme, David Ragan and Mike Bliss completed the top 10.

"I thought Tony was in the 20 all night," Earnhardt said. "I didn't know Denny was in it -- so congratulations, Denny."

The confusion carried over into Earnhardt's post-race interview.

"It was hard to beat those guys," Earnhardt said. "Kyle and Tony were both really fast."

"I think the reason for the confusion was that the colors (on the car) are the ones (Tony) usually runs," Hamlin said of the candy-apple-red No. 20 machine. "But my head's a lot smaller than his."

Earnhardt was third, closing on Hamlin and Busch when Colin Braun's spin off Turn 2 caused the third caution of the race on Lap 99, setting up the two-lap sprint to the finish and turning a three-car race for the win into a free-for-all. Even though Earnhardt hung back on the restart on Lap 104, the top three positions didn't change during the final two laps of a race that went five laps beyond its scheduled distance.

Hamlin was grateful for his teammate's help in getting to the finish line without a challenge.

"It feels good to do this in my final ride in the 20 car," Hamlin said. "I've got to thank Kyle for sticking with me there at the end. The only way we don't win this is if Kyle goes for the win. I knew Kyle could go for the win and maybe not succeed, but I knew, as long as he stuck on my bumper, we'd have a 1-2 finish."

Notes: Hamlin led 29 of the 105 laps, one more than Keselowski. … Bowyer expanded his points lead to 202 over second-place Keselowski and to 218 over third-place Carl Edwards, the defending series champion. … Kerry Earnhardt qualified 10th and finished 17th in his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start since the same race last year. . . Polesitter Bryan Clauson, 19, a part-time NASCAR Nationwide Series driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, came home 19th.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR LAPS STATUS
1 17 20 Denny Hamlin Toyota Hardee's / Coca-Cola 105 Running
2 20 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Farm Bureau Insurance 105 Running
3 5 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Delphi 105 Running
4 6 2 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 105 Running
5 2 88 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet U.S. Navy 105 Running
6 18 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Klondike 105 Running
7 13 29 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express 105 Running
8 25 64 David Stremme Chevrolet Atreus Homes & Communities 105 Running
9 26 6 David Ragan Ford Discount Tire 105 Running
10 16 1 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 105 Running
11 9 60 Carl Edwards Ford Save-A-Lot 105 Running
12 7 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet VFW 105 Running
13 28 66 Steve Wallace Chevrolet Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches 105 Running
14 12 99 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 105 Running
15 23 25 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Ford John Morrell 105 Running
16 24 47 Kelly Bires Ford Clorox 105 Running
17 10 8 Kerry Earnhardt Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 105 Running
18 27 111 Jason Keller Chevrolet America's Incredible Pizza Company 105 Running
19 1 40 Bryan Clauson * Dodge Fastenal 105 Running
20 34 59 Marcos Ambrose Ford Kingsford / MatchLight 105 Running
21 4 27 Brad Coleman Ford Kleenex / Huggies 105 Running
22 15 7 Mike Wallace Toyota GEICO 104 Accident
23 8 38 Jason Leffler Toyota Great Clips 104 Running
24 36 161 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet Long John Silver's 104 Running
25 40 28 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet U.S. Border Patrol 104 Running
26 35 30 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet NOS Energy Drink 104 Running
27 32 37 Brad Baker Ford RFD-TV 104 Running
28 31 4 Derrike Cope Chevrolet JVC Everio 104 Running
29 19 81 D.J. Kennington Dodge Mahindra Tractors 104 Running
30 39 170 Mark Green Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 104 Running
31 14 89 Morgan Shepherd Dodge Victory In Jesus 103 Running
32 29 223 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet R3 Motorsports 103 Running
33 42 22 Josh Wise Dodge Supercuts 102 Running
34 41 52 Donnie Neuenberger Chevrolet Quaker City Casting 101 Running
35 3 16 Colin Braun Ford CitiFinancial 97 Accident
36 38 01 James Hylton Chevrolet SponsorDavis.com 82 Running
37 11 32 Brian Vickers Toyota Dollar General 76 Rear End
38 30 24 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty 58 Running
39 43 84 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Harmon Bartlett Racing 52 Electrical
40 37 90 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 28 Overheating
41 21 331 Shane Huffman Chevrolet NOS Energy Drink 23 Rear End
42 33 149 Kertus Davis Chevrolet Jay Robinson Inc. 6 Vibration
43 22 0 Brad Teague Chevrolet SponsorDavis.com 4 Vibration

* Denotes Rookie

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