NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Denny Hamlin wins Kroger 200 at Martinsville

200 laps of typical short track racing at Martinsville resulted in a lot of bent sheet metal, quite a few hurt feelings, a new point leader and another grandfather clock for Denny Hamlin. Hamlin started the race at the tail end of the field because he missed the drivers’ meeting. It took him 76 laps to make it up to the top five and 194 laps before he finally took the lead. Nelson Piquet Jr. survived a heated battle with Joey Coulter to come home in second. Coulter crossed the finish line in third while Matt Crafton ended up fourth after leading on the final restart only to be muscled out of the top spot by Hamlin. Scott Riggs drove a patient, veteran race to score a fifth place finish for RBR in the 92. That was the first top five for RBR since February 2011.

Kevin Harvick led the most laps in the race but fell victim to a cut tire on the last caution and had to pit. He ended up with a 12th place finish.Ty Dillon was running solidly in the top 10 when he blew a right front tire on lap 151. Whiile driving back to pit lane on the flat tire, Dillow ground off the sway bar arm which resulted in an extensive amount of pit time for repairs and eventually a 28th place finish, 6 laps down. Prior to that misfortune, Dillon had completed all but two laps of competition in the Truck series in 2012.

This is second victory in the Camping World Truck series in 15 career starts. Both of the wins have come at Martinsville. Nelson Piquet’s second place finish was his second top 10 at Martinsville and his 12th top 10 of the season. Coulter’s top 10 was also his second top 10 in four career races at Martinsville. Max Gresham was the highest finishing rookie. James Buescher’s point lead is 21 over Ty Dillon.

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