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Hamlin gets second truck win at Martinsville

October 27, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com



Hamlin gets second truck win at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- To Denny Hamlin, it was standard operating procedure at Martinsville Speedway.

To Matt Crafton, it was an unjustified bulldozer move.

Kroger 200

Results
Pos.DriverMake
2.Nelson Piquet Jr. Chevrolet
3.Joey Coulter Chevrolet
4.Matt Crafton Toyota
5.Scott Riggs Chevrolet

Regardless of the point of view, Hamlin won Saturday's Kroger 200 with an aggressive pass after a restart with eight laps left and showed no regret in claiming his second victory at the 0.526-mile track and his second win in 15 career Camping World Truck Series starts.

Hamlin, who started from the rear because he missed the drivers' meeting -- thanks to a conflict with Sprint Cup practice -- finished 1.932 seconds ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr., who bulled his way into the runner-up position after restarting fourth on Lap 193 of 200. Joey Coulter ran third, followed by Crafton and Scott Riggs.

Irate at Hamlin's use of the front bumper, Crafton had some choice words for the driver of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota after the race. With Hamlin parked on pit road, Crafton leaned into the driver's side window to express his displeasure.

Hamlin's reaction was, "What did he expect?"

"When you're the leader with a few laps to go, you've got to expect it," said Hamlin, who moved Crafton out of the way and took the lead for the first time with six laps left. "You can't wreck the guy -- that's off-limits -- but moving him off and out of the groove, that's standard protocol at this type of race track."

Crafton disagreed and took umbrage at the characterization of Hamlin's winning move as a pass.

"If you want to call that a pass -- that's just moving somebody," Crafton said. "Running in the back of somebody, that doesn't take anything. Anybody can do that. I didn't let the tires come up quite clean enough on the last restart. I do admit that. That's part of it. I didn't get my tires cleaned up, but I did not run into the back of him."

Ty Dillon's one-point championship lead evaporated after his No. 3 Chevrolet blew a tire and nosed into the outside wall on Lap 151, bringing out the fourth caution of the afternoon. After repeated trips to pit road for repairs, Dillon dropped to 28th, six laps down, and could not improve on that position.

Dillon's woes transferred the series lead to James Buescher, who rallied from a lap down to finish sixth. Buescher grabbed a 21-point lead over second-place Dillon with three races left in the season.

Even though he lost a lap in the early going and didn't get it back until he received a free pass under the third caution midway through the race, Buescher was confident he could get back into contention.

"When we were a lap down, I did have all the faith in the world that we could turn it around and come back for a top-10 finish," Buescher said. "I knew that we just needed some adjustments. We hadn't stopped yet. We were still on the initial run, and I knew that we could get the back end in the track better.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Denny Hamlin picked up his second NCWTS win in his 15th start in the series.
• Denny Hamlin's last win was at Martinsville in October 2011.
• Denny Hamlin has won his last two Martinsville starts; six career starts at Martinsville.
• Denny Hamlin started at the rear of the field after missing the drivers meeting.
• Denny Hamlin becomes only the fourth driver with multiple wins at Martinsville; Harvick, Setzer and Skinner all have three.
• Denny Hamlin is the 14th different winner of 2012, ties the record for the most different winners in a season (1998, 2005).
• Denny Hamlin led just once in the race, for the final six laps.
• Kyle Busch Motorsports earned its 17th NCWTS victory.
• Kyle Busch Motorsports' last win was in this race last year when Hamlin won.
• Kyle Busch Motorsports won the for the second time at Martinsville.
• Toyota garnered its seventh win of 2012.
• Toyota now has eight wins at Martinsville.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. (second) had his best Martinsville finish in his fourth start, previous best finish was sixth in March.
• Joey Coulter (third) also had his best Martinsville finish in his fourth start, previous best finish was fifth in this race last year.
• Matt Crafton (fourth) tied his best Martinsville finish. Led 33 laps before being passed for the win with six laps to go, ninth time he was passed for the win in his career.
• Scott Riggs (fifth) first top five since 2001
• James Buescher (sixth) has now finished in the top 10 in nine of the last 10 races; received the free pass on lap 95, was one lap down and back to 20th. Now leads the points standings by 21.
• Timothy Peters (seventh) has posted top 10 finishes in six of the last seven races at Martinsville; currently sits third in points, 25 back.
• Max Gresham (11th) earned the best finish of his career.
• Ty Dillon (28th) had the worst finish of his career, lost the points lead and now sits 21 points back of Buescher.

"We were really loose and just needed to come to pit road for an adjustment and hit reset. We did that. [Crew chief] Michael Shelton made good calls on what to do to get the truck better, and it was able to go forward the rest of the day."