Denny Hamlin, who had to postpone surgery to repair his ACL because the race was delayed due to rain, capitalized on a green-white-checkered finish and a slip-up by Matt Kenseth to win the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The win is his second consecutive at the track.
On lap 493, Hamlin and teammate Kyle Busch, who were running 1-2 at the time, made pit stops while others stayed out. Hamlin took four tires and restarted in 9th position. Busch took two tires and restarted eighth.
Six laps later, Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, and Busch were racing three-wide when Menard got into Busch, sending him around and into the wall. This set up a GWC finish.
On lap 506, Jeff Gordon brought the field to the green with Ryan Newman on the outside of row 1. Hamlin restarted in 4th. Being on new tires, Hamlin worked the rear bumper of Newman going into turn 1. He shoved Newman up the track.
Meanwhile, Gordon drifted up the track and was now in front of Hamlin. This allowed Kenseth to duck inside, making it a three-wide battle for the lead. Down the backstretch, Kenseth and Gordon leaned on each other while Hamlin looked on.
Going into turn 3, Kenseth drove in hard and made contact with Gordon. The contact sent Kenseth up the racetrack in front of Gordon, forcing Gordon to get on the brakes. Hamlin was side-by-side with Gordon and used those four fresh tires to power away from Gordon. He also pulled his teammate Joey Logano past Gordon. Hamlin and Logano posted a Joe Gibbs Racing 1-2 finish.
Top 5: Hamlin, Logano, Gordon, Ryan Newman, and Martin Truex Jr.
Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, and Greg Biffle rounded out the top 10.
Notables: Marcos Ambrose (11th), Brad Keselowski (12th), Dale Earnhardt Jr (15th), Kasey Kahne (17th), Matt Kenseth (18th), Jeff Burton (20th), Mark Martin (21st), Kyle Busch (22nd), Kurt Busch (23rd), Tony Stewart (26th), Kevin Harvick (35th), and Juan Montoya (36th).
Several cars were plagued by tire problems. Many teams were losing the right front because they were melting the beads. Jeff Burton, who had the only car that could compete with Hamlin, lost a tire around lap 490. He tried to nurse the car around the track, but hit the wall hard about two laps later. He finished 20th. Montoya also cut a tire and hit the wall hard around the halfway point in the race. He finished 36th.
Kevin Harvick, the points leader going into the race, lead the first 44 laps and was running in the top 5 when he had a mechanical issue, I believe he had a brake problem. He took his car to the garage. He returned nearly 100 laps later. He finished 35th.
Marcos Ambrose didn’t make any friends during the race. He was involved in several dustups. He made contact with Greg Biffle, Paul Menard, Kevin Conway, and Sam Hornish Jr.
Give a call to Martin Truex Jr who ran around the top 10 all day. He finished 5th.