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Hamlin battles through flu, wins at Dover
DOVER, Del. -- Fighting off the effects of the flu, Denny Hamlin passed Martin Truex Jr. with 14 laps left in the RoadLoans.com 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday at Dover International Speedway and pulled away to win his third race of the season.
Hamlin, who had to take on fluids intravenously before the race, pitted for four tires and fuel under caution on Lap 167. He restarted eighth on Lap 170 and gained two positions before the caution flag flew for a track-record-tying 13th time because of AJ Allmendinger's spin in Turn 2 on Lap 171.
After the race restarted on Lap 175, Hamlin picked off the five cars ahead of him, passing third-place finisher Matt Kenseth for second on Lap 183 and Truex, the race runner-up, in a drag race through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 186.
Hamlin beat Truex to the finish line by 1.797 seconds to claim his fifth career NASCAR Busch Series victory. Mike Bliss finished fourth, and Reed Sorenson came home fifth.
Series points leader Carl Edwards, rookie Brad Keselowski, veteran Jason Keller, polesitter Greg Biffle and David Reutimann completed the top 10. Keselowski tied his career best finish while Keller came within one start of tying Tommy Houston’s series record of 417. He’ll go for that mark next weekend at Kansas.
"I need a nap," Hamlin said after climbing from his No. 20 Chevrolet in victory lane. "I hated to stay in it and maybe risk tomorrow (in Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race), but I don't think I did.
"When the car handles that well, you're able to find something down in you that maybe you can't normally find."
Truex's car started out tight, and with the spate of cautions that interrupted the action, the No. 8 Chevy couldn't take advantage of its strength on long runs.
"We almost pulled one off there, but we didn't have the car to hold off the 20," said Truex, who stayed on the track and inherited the lead when Hamlin pitted on Lap 167. "Our car was off all day, but we did pretty
well with what we had."
With enough carnage on the racetrack to cause 13 cautions, Dover produced its customary share of raw emotion. After Robby Gordon clipped the No. 33 Chevrolet of Tony Raines on Lap 58 and turned the car into the wall, Raines climbed from his car under caution and threw his helmet at Gordon's No. 27 Ford.
"I want to thank RoadLoans.com for sponsoring (my) racecar and sponsoring the race," Raines said. "Unfortunately, they can't keep idiots like Robby Gordon from driving in the race."
To his credit, Gordon took responsibility for the accident after spinning his own car in Turn 2 on Lap 93.
Jason Leffler wasn't as gracious in his criticism of Richard Johns, after the two wrecked on a restart on Lap 141. Running consistently in the top five before the crash, Leffler said it was a shame to be wrecked by a driver "who doesn't have the credentials to be in the Busch Series."
With Scott Wimmer finishing 32 laps down in 29th place, Edwards' Roush Fenway Ford regained the lead in the race for the NASCAR Busch Series owners' championship by 39 points over the No. 29 of Richard Childress Racing.
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