(WOMR file photo)
With Brad Keselowski beating a tattoo into his rear bumper, and with his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota sliding sideways as it approached the checkered flag, Denny Hamlin held on to his car as well as holding off Keselowski to win Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
In winning his first race of the season, his fifth at the .526-mile short track and the 25th of his career, Hamlin took the lead for good on Lap 473 of 500, passing teammate Matt Kenseth for the top spot. Two laps later, Keselowski surged past Kenseth and tracked down Hamlin, setting up a breathtaking battle in the closing laps.
“Blazingly Bad” Brad Keselowski could have won the race and logged his second race in a row by either dive bombing or wrecking Hamlin, like he has been known to do in the past. But Brad chose to exercise some judgement and not put his Ford in a place that it would not fit!
Keselowski took his last shot at Hamlin coming off the final corner, bumping Hamlin’s car and turning him sideways. But Hamlin righted the car and drove to the finish line .186 seconds ahead of Brad K.
Hamlin, who recovered from a penalty for a runaway tire on Lap 166 and a resulting trip to the rear of the field, said the victory followed the longest competition meeting he’s experienced at Joe Gibbs Racing, one in which team owner Joe Gibbs pointedly addressed his teams.
“Joe doesn’t raise his voice very often, but he did this time,” Hamlin said. “He told us to get off our tails and get to work.”
Obviously, the effort paid off on Sunday!
Check out the unofficial results of the STP 500.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!