Tag Archives: Martin Truex Jr.

Denny Hamlin Wins Kansas

Changing track conditions at Kansas pushed Denny Hamlin to the lead for his first victory at Kansas Speedway.

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Article first published as Hamlin Enjoys the Sunshine at Kansas on Technorati.[/box]

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Denny Hamlin drove to victory in Sunday’s STP 400 holding off Martin Truex Jr. the final 30 laps. The win is Hamlin’s second of the season, his first at the 1.5-mile Kansas track, and the 19th of his career.

Denny Hamlin

Jimmie Johnson took third, followed closely by Roush Fenway Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. Truex moved into second place in the Sprint Cup Series standings behind Biffle, who leads by 15 points.

A late cycle of green-flag pit stops put all the contenders on the same sequence. Then, for the first time all day, the sun broke through, changing the track dynamics and the whole complexion of the race.

Before the sun came out, Truex had dominated the race, leading 173 laps. The shifting track conditions altered the handling on Truex’s Toyota to “wrecking loose.” Hamlin got past Truex for the lead on Lap 237 and began to drive away with Jimmie Johnson pursuing from the third position.

To Hamlin, the sunlight was a welcome game-changer.

“We just needed some kind of change — weather or adjustments or something to get where he was at — and we kind of got both of them. In overcast conditions, the cars run a little bit tighter, the grip level’s higher in the race car, and it’s more of a track-position type race. When the sun’s out, the drivers, in my opinion, are more prominent,” Hamlin said.

“You move around, find the grip, do things in the car to make up for what you don’t have. The slicker the conditions are, the better it tends to be for our race team. Luckily, we had that run in sunshine.”

When clouds returned to cover the track again, Truex found handling and began to close on Hamlin. Truex tried racing beneath Hamlin in Turn 3 twice in the final three laps but couldn’t get the job done.

“Desperation,” Truex exclaimed. “I was a little bit faster than Denny at the end, but he was running against the wall right where I needed to be, and I was just trying to gain a little bit of ground.

“It was desperation — last-ditch effort — just trying something. There was no chance to make it work.”

In spite of the varying track conditions, Truex pointed to a bad set of tires for the final run as root cause.

“I’m just not really sure what to think of that last set of tires,” Truex said. “The car had been really good all day, we put the last set on, and I was just wrecking loose for the first 20 laps of that last run.

“Denny was able to get by me, and once he did, the race was over. The car got better longer in the run, and I was able to get back to him, but I’d get three or four car-lengths from him and pick up the aero push …

“I guess if we can be this disappointed with second, it kind of shows how far we’ve come as a race team.”

denny hamlinNext race:
Richmond 3/4 Mile Speedway

Saturday, April 28
7:00 p.m. EST on Fox

Newman Aces Martinsville

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Article first published as Newman Nixes Hendrick Victory on Technorati.[/box]


MARTINSVILLE, VA — Ryan Newman played the spoiler role and snatched victory away from Hendrick’s champions in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson reigned most of the days action for 497 laps. A caution flag flew when David Reutimann stalled on the frontstretch with three laps remaining setting up extra laps.

Gordon and Johnson stayed out while the remaining lead-lap cars behind them came in for tires and fuel. On the lap 504 restart, Clint Bowyer, Johnson and Gordon, tried running three-wide into the first corner resulting in a tri-car spin, ending the Hendrick’s shot at their 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory.

On the second lap of a green-white-checkered-flag restart Ryan Newman cleared runner-up AJ Allmendinger and held on to win by .342 seconds. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr.

It was Newman’s first win this season and his first at Martinsville. It was the third win of the year in six events for a dominating Stewart-Haas Racing.

Gordon led 322 laps before Johnson passed hto take the lead on Lap 356. That brought Johnson all the way back from a pit road speeding penalty incurred on Lap 100 under the first caution of the race. Johnson was flagged for speeding on exit and restarted at the tail end of the field.

But with 80 percent of the race ahead of him, the five-time champion had plenty of time to work his way back to the front of the field.

Denny Hamlin beat both Johnson and Gordon off pit road on Lap 363, during pit stops under caution for Travis Kvapil’s spin in Turn 2, but Johnson regained the lead on Lap 393, passing Hamlin to the inside through Turns 1 and 2 after dogging the No. 11 Toyota for more than 10 circuits.

Gordon regained the lead on Lap 497 moments before caution slowed the race. The eighth caution for the Bowyer/Gordon/Johnson wreck extended the race to 515 laps, 15 past the scheduled distance.

After a week off Sprint Cup heads to Texas.

7:00 pm EST
Fox TV

 

Source: NASCAR Wire Service

Clint Bowyer Wins ‘Dega

Article first published as Clint Bowyer Wins ‘Dega on Technorati.


In a day that saw championship hopes crumple faster than a fender in the turn three wall, Clint Bowyer and teammate Jeff Burton ran up front all day long. In sight of the checkered flag, Bowyer put the old shake-n-bake slingshot move around Burton and they drag raced through the tri-oval. Bowyer edged Burton at the line. With four more races left with Richard Childress Racing, Clint Bowyer isn’t burning any bridges. He’s polishing that sucker on the way out.

Chase contenders Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick took their lumps earlier in the race. On lap 104,  A.J. Almendinger spun in the middle of the pack causing a big wreck and brought out the fourth caution. With nowhere to go, Harvick took a big hit to his race-car and championship hopes at the same time. He finished in 32nd, 13 laps down.

On lap 174 Kurt Busch played the “wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time” game and collided into the back of Bobbie Labonte’s racecar as it was spinning on the backstretch. The damage relegated the Pennzoil team to the garage and ended their day nine laps down to finish 36th.

A late race caution came out when Mark Martin got loose and sent Regan Smith hard into the outside wall. The stage was set for a showdown between the front runners. On the restart with three laps left, it was Jeff Burton in the lead followed closely by Clint Bowyer and a host of win-hungry drivers looking to get past the Childress cars. But it wasn’t to be.

Burton and Bowyer pulled away on the white flag lap and never looked back. At the finish line it was Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney taking 3rd for his career best finish. Brad Keselowski 4th, and Brian Vickers rounding out the top five. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip, and Martin Truex Jr. make up the balance of the top ten.

Points leader Carl Edwards played a safe strategy in Sunday’s race and drove near the rear of the pack until late race when he made a charge with teammate Greg Biffle pushing him towards the front. Edwards finished 11th.

In the post-race press conference, Richard Childress, the winningest owner at Talladega, took a bit of a verbal jab at Edwards when he said, “We don’t get paid to ride in the back.”

Sprint Cup Standings 

The show moves to the southern hills of Virginia to the little track at Martinsville for next weeks running of the TUMS Fast Relief 500.

Racing from Martinsville begins Sunday the 30th at 2:00 pm EST on ESPN.

Keselowski Beats Bristol

Article first published as Keselowski Beats Bristol on Technorati.


Brad Keselowski may very well be the hottest driver in NASCAR right now. Just four races ago the young driver had only managed to average a 23rd place finish through 20 races and at 21st in points not on anyone’s radar.

And then he broke his ankle in a practice crash at Road Atlanta. Since then Keselowski has finished first at Pocono, second at Watkins Glen, third at Michigan and then the big win last night at Bristol.

Now he sits in the 11th position a serious threat for the Championship. His three victories all but ensures him a spot in the Chase, but with two races remaining and the mother of all hot streaks going, Keselowski is positioned to knock someone out of a guaranteed top ten spot. Without a win Tony Stewart or Dale Earnhardt Jr. would not be qualifed for one of the wild-card spots.

With 80 laps remaining in last night’s Irwin Tools 500, Keselowski took the lead and never looked back. “Wow — the night race at Bristol!” Keselowski gushed in the victory lane interview. “I used to watch Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt win this race. This is a race of champions. I can’t believe it. There’s races that pay more. There’s races that might have a little more prestige, but this is the coolest damn one of them all.”

Martin Truex Jr. ran second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray. Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, pole-sitter Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose filled out the top 10.

Kyle Busch hit the wall on the wall on lap 418 and fell out of contention for his Bristol sweep. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th but holds on to his 9th spot in the standings.

Compared to many of Bristol’s past crash fests this race went fast with only six cautions for 42 laps. The average speed was 96.753 mph and it took two hours-45 minutes to run the race.

For a full rundown of the point standings go to NASCAR Standings.

NASCAR heads to Atlanta for next week’s AdvoCare 500.

Ryan Newman Races Boss to Checkered Flag

Article first published as Ryan Newman Races Boss to Checkered Flag on Technorati.

Ryan Newman lead the one-two punch, Stewart-Haas victory dance with his employer and teammate, Tony Stewart, a little better than 0.7 seconds behind. Newman ended a 47-race winless streak with the victory.

“One hell of a day boys — one hell of a day,” Stewart radioed to his team as he watched the checkered flag drop on his teammate. Newman posted his first victory of the season, his third at new Hampshire and the 15th of his career.

Denny Hamlin snagged third, followed by Joey Logano fourth and Jimmie Johnson close behind in fifth. Kasey KahneBobby LabonteMartin Truex Jr.Marcos Ambrose and Kurt Busch round out the top ten.

Kyle Busch started the day as the points leader but saw trouble on lap 50 when he blew a right front tire and crashed in turn two.

“Blew a bead,” Busch said, “Fastest car here — getting through the field pretty good and kind of the only guy passing guys, I guess, there. We made some big changes there on that pit stop.

“We came back and got four [tires] just to make sure we got all the changes we wanted to. Working our way up through there. Just blew a bead, I guess, transferring too much brake heat through the wheel.”

The M&Ms crew repaired the #18 Toyota and Kyle Busch returned to the race on Lap 134. He finished 36th and dropped four places in the Chase standings.