Hamlin Beats Johnson at Martinsville

October 26, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Denny Hamlin in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leads Jimmie Johnsonn the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, Greg Biffle in the #16 3M/Filterete Ford, and David Ragan in the #6 UPS Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2009 in Martinsville, Virginia. (John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leads Jimmie Johnsonn the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, Greg Biffle in the #16 3M/Filterete Ford, and David Ragan in the #6 UPS Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2009 in Martinsville, Virginia. (John Harrelson/Getty Images)
An odd thing happened at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday: NASACR raced there and Jimmie Johnson did not win. Instead Denny Hamlin came back from an early-race pit lane collision to take the victory, making up for losing to Johnson at Martinsville in March.

Martinsville Speedway, site of the TUMS Fast Relief 500 on October 25, is a half-mile banked oval, an old school bull-ring where a certain amount of pushing and shoving is expected. Junior Johnson won in Martinsville in the Spring, nudging Denny Hamlin aside to cross the finish line first.

Hamlin, who finished poorly in the past two races, was not expected to be factor at Martinsville. Jimmie Johnson, who had won three of the five chase races, was expected to dominate.

Instead, it was Hamlin’s FedEx Toyota that had the best set-up late in the race. Hamlin led the most laps, and led the final 137 laps.

Hamlin Starts Bad, Runs Strong 

Hamlin collided with Dale Earnhardt Jr, in pit lane on lap 46, damaging the nose of the car slightly, but the damage only seemed to make him faster.

Hamlin took over the lead on lap 183. He fought off Kyle Busch, but lost the lead in the pits on lap 254. Then Hamlin worked his way back to the front, finally passing Jimmie Johnson to retake first place on lap on lap 363.

For the rest of the race Hamlin was untouchable, pulling away on the restarts and running ahead of the battles in the pack. At the last Martinsville race, Jimmie Johnson pushed Denny Hamlin aside to take the win. This time Hamlin didn’t let Johnson get close enough to try it again.

“I knew all those guys were going to be aggressive and try to get the win, but we just had the best car there at the end,” Hamlin said. “The #48 [Johnson] didn’t do anything that he shouldn’t have, he made sure he protected his points lead, and gave us a little bit of respect as well.”

Hamlin thanked his fans for sticking by him after he finished 37th and 42nd in the last two races. “I have to thank all my fans that’ve been sticking with me on Twitter, and everyone who’s been giving me some hop e that the last two weeks are in the past.”

Jimmie Johnson took his loss in stride. “Denny had the best car there, that last run—and maybe for the two runs before that he had the best car. At the end of the race that #11 car [Hamlin] was going to be there and it was going to be strong so congratulations for him. Great day for us. Wish we could have won, but second—there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Plenty of Action

There were battles aplenty back in the pack. Jeff Gordon, who led early in the race but dropped back when his two-tire pit strategy proved unwise, got beat up and battered by Juan Pablo Montoya, who seemed determined to push Gordon aside even though Montoya had the speed to pass cleanly. The pair fought for several laps, with Montoya finally muscling his was past. From there Montoya passed Jimmie Johnson cleanly for the lead, but Montoya could hold it. Montoya still managed a respectable third.

Kyle Busch drove a great race, coming from 41st position to lead briefly, finally finishing fourth. Jeff Gordon ended up finishing fifth.

Joey Loganao and A.J. Allmendinger jousted for a few laps, with Allmendinger ending up in the wall. Such is NASCAR.

Dale Earhardt Jr. had an even worse day than usual. After getting rammed in the pits by Denny Hamlin, Junior had a series of tire failures which put him into the wall a couple of times. Apparently he was melting beads due to brake overheating. He eventually finished 29th. After announcing last week that he was at the end of his rope, it is hard to know where he goes from here.

The race saw fourteen cautions; fifteen actually, as the Green-White-Checkered finish turned into a Checkered/Yellow finish. Scott Speed spun and hit the wall hard on lap 495, bringing on the G/W/C. But on the restart, John Andretti bounced off the inside wall, coming to rest in the middle of the track, just short of the Start/Finish line.

The stewards decided to let them race, waving the yellow and checkered flags simultaneously as the pack weaved around Andretti to end the day.

Though Jimmie Johnson didn’t win—only the third of six Chase races he didn’t—his second-place finish stretched his lead over Mark Martin to 118 points. Martin finished eighth. Jeff Gordon’s fifth-place finish kept him in third, 150 points down.

The Chase is a three-way fight going into Talladega; only Martin and Gordon have a real chance to catch Johnson, and the way Johnson has been running, many think the Chase is already over. But Talladega is a wild card; absolutely anything can happen on this high-speed, high-banked restrictor-plate track. There is nowhere safe to run and nowhere to hide; the “Big One” can happen anywhere and at anytime, and anyone can get caught up in it.

 

The Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega Georgia, starts at 12:00 noon on Sunday, November 1, 2009. The NASCAR camping World Truck series will be racing on October 31. For tickets and travel information please visit the Talladega Superspeedway Web site.

 

TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fin

St

#

Driver 

Make 

Sponsor 

Pts/bns

Laps

Status 

1

17

11

Denny Hamlin

Toyota

FedEx Freight

195/10

501

Running

2

15

48

Jimmie Johnson

Chevrolet

Lowe's

175/5

501

Running

3

21

42

Juan Montoya

Chevrolet

Target

170/5

501

Running

4

41

18

Kyle Busch

Toyota

M&M's Halloween

165/5

501

Running

5

2

24

Jeff Gordon

Chevrolet

NationalGuard.com / DuPont

160/5

501

Running

6

23

26

Jamie McMurray

Ford

Crown Royal

150/0

501

Running

7

1

39

Ryan Newman

Chevrolet

U.S. Army

151/5

501

Running

8

4

5

Mark Martin

Chevrolet

Kellogg's / Carquest

147/5

501

Running

9

13

14

Tony Stewart

Chevrolet

Old Spice / Office Depot

138/0

501

Running

10

10

29

Kevin Harvick

Chevrolet

Shell / Pennzoil

134/0

501

Running

11

24

83

Brian Vickers

Toyota

Red Bull

130/0

501

Running

12

7

20

Joey Logano *

Toyota

Farm Bureau Insurance

127/0

501

Running

13

8

96

Bobby Labonte

Ford

DLP

124/0

501

Running

14

32

17

Matt Kenseth

Ford

Dewalt

121/0

501

Running

15

22

31

Jeff Burton

Chevrolet

Caterpillar

123/5

501

Running

16

5

00

David Reutimann

Toyota

Aaron's Dream Machine

120/5

501

Running

17

37

2

Kurt Busch

Dodge

Miller Lite

112/0

501

Running

18

6

07

Casey Mears

Chevrolet

Jack Daniel's

109/0

501

Running

19

19

33

Clint Bowyer

Chevrolet

BB&T

106/0

501

Running

20

29

99

Carl Edwards

Ford

Aflac

103/0

501

Running

21

40

19

Elliott Sadler

Dodge

Best Buy

100/0

500

Running

22

14

6

David Ragan

Ford

UPS

97/0

500

Running

23

30

98

Paul Menard

Ford

Schrock Cabinetry / Menards

94/0

500

Running

24

9

43

Reed Sorenson

Dodge

McDonald's Monopoly

91/0

500

Running

25

20

16

Greg Biffle

Ford

3M Filtrete

93/5

500

Running

26

27

34

John Andretti

Chevrolet

A&W All American Food

90/5

499

Accident

27

34

47

Marcos Ambrose

Toyota

Little Debbie / Kingsford / Clorox

82/0

499

Running

28

3

1

Martin Truex Jr.

Chevrolet

Vaseline Men Body Lotion

79/0

499

Running

29

12

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Chevrolet

Amp Energy / National Guard

76/0

499

Running

30

36

55

Michael Waltrip

Toyota

NAPA Adaptive One

73/0

497

Running

31

18

82

Scott Speed *

Toyota

Red Bull

70/0

495

Accident

32

26

9

Kasey Kahne

Dodge

Budweiser

67/0

494

Running

33

11

12

David Stremme

Dodge

Penske Racing

64/0

439

Rearend

34

16

44

A.J. Allmendinger

Dodge

Coleman Natural Foods

61/0

414

Running

35

38

09

Sterling Marlin

Dodge

Miccosukee Resort & Gaming

58/0

355

Brakes

36

31

77

Sam Hornish Jr.

Dodge

Mobil 1

55/0

248

Accident

37

33

7

Robby Gordon

Toyota

Schrock Cabinetry / Menards

52/0

130

Driveshaft

38

28

187

Joe Nemechek

Toyota

NEMCO Motorsports

49/0

52

Overheating

39

35

171

David Gilliland

Chevrolet

TRG Motorsports

51/5

48

Brakes

40

39

66

Dave Blaney

Toyota

Prism Motorsports

43/0

38

Overheating

41

42

36

Michael McDowell

Toyota

Wave Energy Drink

40/0

36

Brakes

42

43

64

Derrike Cope

Toyota

Gunselman Motorsports

37/0

31

Brakes

43

25

37

Travis Kvapil

Dodge

Long John Silver's

34/0

30

Brakes

* Denotes Rookie