Hometown Favorite Denny Hamlin Takes Short Track Showdown Title
Hamlin Takes Wins in His Race After Kyle Busch Runs Out of Fuel on Final Lap
Chase Elliott, who started back in 22nd, finishied third, while Joey Logano brought his machine home in fourth, ahead of Frank Deiny, Jr and Kyle Busch. Busch had dominated most of race, only to run out of fuel on the last lap.
“I can’t believe something finally came my way (in this race)," said Hamlin. "My guys did a great job. Busch was shaking his car on the last lap. He should have won the race. I wanted to start from the back and do this right, but we did it the hard way.”
Waltrip was effusive after the race.
“I think people forgot how good I was. I had a great time. You really have to go there at the end. Boy, we should put the Cup cars on these bias plied tires. I was right on Denny there at the end, but I wasn’t going to hit Denny, it’s his race!”
“I think we could have battled (Hamlin) for the win," said Elliott. "I followed Denny all the way up through the field. I thought it was a pretty fun time.”
The event, which benefited the Denny Hamlin Foundation, was broadcast live on SPEED.
No sooner did the field power through turn 2 for the first time then Brandon Butler spun and backed into the SAFER barrier. He bounced back in front of a mass of cars which scrambled to miss him. Nine cars were damaged in the mêlée which brought out the red flag so crews could clean up the debris. Officials called for a complete restart with Matt McCall and Max Gresham leading the way. After a clean start, Busch threaded his way through the front row cars to take lead at the end of the first lap.
By Lap 15, Hamlin had made his way all the way up to 16th place, having voluntarily dropped to the back of the field before the start. When the race was stopped for a “Half Time” at lap 45, Hamlin was in 10th position.
On Lap 35, Busch and Gresham began trading the lead, bringing the fans to their feet as they split cars and went high and low for three laps.
At “Half Time” on lap 45, Busch led Gresham by 0.200 seconds. Darrell Wallace, Jr., after winning the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race earlier, passed nine cars and was third, 8.096 seconds behind Busch. Michael Waltrip was 4th.
With 15 to go, Busch lead Wallace, Jr., Waltrip, Gresham and Frank Deiny, Jr. Denny Hamlin was up to 7th place.
With 10 laps remaining, officials waved the yellow flag for a planned caution. When the green flag waved, Wallace, Jr. tried to slip inside Busch going into turn one, only to get loose in the center. Wallace, Jr. fish-tailed and as he slowed, was then tapped into a spin by Gresham. The race was red-flagged as again the track was blocked by at least six broken and bent racecars.
“I had Rowdy Busch up on the outside," Wallace Jr. said. "I was going to give him a run for the money. I had it saved but got tapped. I can’t be upset about that because I had a good night getting into the history book here earlier.”
As the green flag waved with two laps to go, the running order at the front was Busch, Waltrip, Frank Deiny, Jr, Denny Hamlin and Matt McCall. Coming out of turn 2 for the last time, Busch started running out of gas. Hamlin jumped around the car that had dominated the night up to that point and swept on to victory, followed by Waltrip and Elliott.