Sunday, October 25, 2009

FedEx Delivers, Hamlin Gets Revenge

Helped by a long green-flag run that established him as the dominant car, Denny Hamlin turned a dominant car into a winner at Martinsville Speedway, passing Jimmie Johnson with 138 laps to go Sunday and holding off the Chase leader on a series of late restarts.

Hamlin pulled away after a restart with 52 laps to go, ending Johnson's remarkable run of five trips to Victory Lane in the last six races at the shortest circuit in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Hamlin then easily pulled away again on another restart with 12 laps to go, and again when a late crash forced a "green-white-checkered" two-lap sprint to the finish of the 501-lap event.

Hamlin's second career victory on the half-mile oval kept the Virginia racer as the only driver besides Johnson to win on the paper clip-shaped track in the last seven races. Hamlin won the spring race last year, and was leading when Johnson gave him the "bump-and-run" with 15 laps to go earlier this year.

Hamlin led three times for a race-high 206 laps, while Johnson led 164 circuits.

Johnson, seeking his record fourth consecutive series title, held on for second and padded his lead in the series standings with four races to go. Mark Martin remained second in the standings, but his deficit went from 90 points to 118, as he finished eighth. Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart held third and fourth positions in the overall standings with finishes of fifth and tenth place respectively, while Juan Pablo Montoya moved back into the top five in the Chase standings with a third place run. Complete standing can be found here.

Next weekend NASCAR's premiere division moves from the shortest track in the series to the longest as they travel to Talladega, Alabama. Considered by most to be the "wild-card" event in the ten race playoff, Talladega is known for its tendency to have what it called "the big one," a wreck that is caused by all 43 cars racing 3 or 4-wide within feet of each other. As they "bump-draft" down the straightaways at nearly 200mph, one mistake can take out numerous cars in a fraction of a second.

If you've never watched a NASCAR race but you love excitement, a race at Talladega is a great introduction to the sport. As an introduction to how exciting a race at Talladega can be, here are a couple of clips. First, the amazing finish there in this year's spring race:

Next, the "big one" from the chase race of 2008. The #83 car was in the second row of cars when his right front tire exploded, which sent him careening across the pack into the wall, and the entire pack of over 30 cars behind him had to scatter and hope to avoid a wreck.

The race will broadcast live on ABC, with coverage beginning at 12pm EST.

Last year's winner of the Chase race at Talladega Super-Speedway was Tony Stewart.


blackandgoldfan said...

Saw this little gem and thought of you.

Sent with love!!! :-D

The_Kid said...

Soloman, you ever go to the drags? I loved the drags. Top fuel.. Man, to me nothing says you're living in America better than a 5,000 hp top fuel dragster blowing through the lights at 4.something seconds, leaving a haze of rubber and nitro-methane in its wake.

And a Cheeseburger of course.

Soloman said...

B&G - who is Brian? He can't spell... lol.

Actually, since I now live in Phoenix and essentially grew up in Cleveland, I'll take no offense from your attempt at humor.

Keep laughing, lady.. you're going to need your sense of humor come November 9th. It'll help stop the tears... :^)~

Soloman said...

Kid, I never did go to the drag races. I know NHRA runs here early in the season. I just started taking interest in drag racing within the last few years, and I have thought of going. Everything I hear says they're very fan-friendly just like NASCAR, which is part of what I respect about that sport so much.

Plus, generally speaking, you don't have off-field issues in racing like in the stick and ball sports, because there is so much money tied to the individual based on sponsorship. A driver as the face of a team can black-ball himself by acting out of sorts, and might never work again if an offense were bad enough.

The_Kid said...

Soloman, it's an experience. You can cruise the pits, see them working on those machines, get a look at some fast cars - then see some Fast cars.

I kinda liked qualifying day(Saturday) versus race day by a smidgen. You saw more cars that don't make it to race day(Sunday) - If you only go one day.

Take some earplugs. It's a raw experience. If you take your girlfriend go later on when the serious cars are racing - sub 10 second at least.