Denny Hamlin made a spectacular move with 13 laps remaining Saturday afternoon to win the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
“This is a great race track for us. I knew this was going to be one of my best opportunities to win a truck race,” said Hamlin, who was driving a truck owned by Kyle Busch. “To win and to win in the fashion we did win … considering where we were running then, wherever that was … it was a special win.
“I just gave it all I had the last 50 laps…that’s the hardest 50 laps I’ve ever driven at Martinsville.”
It was Hamlin’s first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win and his fifth career win at Martinsville. He has four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Martinsville and will be gunning for a fifth Sunday in the TUMS Fast Relief 500.
On the final restart Hamlin was running third behind NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points contenders Austin Dillon and Ron Hornaday Jr. Dillon washed up the track entering the first turn and tapped Hornaday, allowing Hamlin to take the lead.
Hornaday wound up second with Dillon third. Johnny Sauter finished fourth with rookie Joey Coulter fifth.
“I just needed them to get single-file so I could pick them off. I felt we were so much faster than them,” said Hamlin, referring to Dillon and Hornaday on the restart. “We knew they were racing for points and didn’t want to put them in a bad spot. I just wanted them to move up and they did.”
“We gave it to him. I just didn’t make the first turn and I ran into Ron,” said Dillon. “If I hadn’t done that it would have been one of us in victory lane. I’ve just got to figure out how to make that first turn better on restarts.”
“It was a great day … a pretty cool day for us,” said Hornaday. “Austin raced me pretty hard at the end. I don’t know how Denny snuck through us and stole the win.”
Dillon remains the leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, holding an 11-point advantage over James Buescher, who finished 10 Saturday.
There were 12 different lead changes among eight drivers, a Martinsville record.
Martinsville Speedway PR