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Hamlin wins second Gatorade Duel

Feb 14, 2008 - 10:44 PM By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Denny Hamlin was able to blow by his teammate, Tony Stewart, on the a green-white-checkered flag restart to give Toyota its first victory in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition in Thursday's second Gatorade Duel at Daytona.

He finished 0.091-seconds ahead of Stewart's Toyota to lock up the victory while Dale Jarrett and John Andretti were able to finish ninth and 10th to take the two automatic transfer positions into Sunday's Daytona 500.

"It's great especially with this back up engine and it's great to be back in victory lane at Daytona and get Toyota its first win," Hamlin said.

Jeff Gordon's Chevrolet was third followed by Kasey Kahne's Dodge and Martin Truex Jr's Chevrolet.

For Jarrett, he will get to start his final Daytona 500 on Sunday.

"Certainly, I wanted to be part of the 50th Daytona 500 on Sunday," said the three-time Daytona 500 winner. "Now, we'll go back and tune it up and get it ready on Sunday."

Andretti was given little chance of making the field but was able to race his way into the field.

It was a clean race until the 15th lap. That's when 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve lost control of his Toyota Camry in the fourth turn. The car hooked the apron, slid up the track and crashed into Jamie McMurray's Ford Fusion. Last year's Indy 500 winner and IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and Stanton Barrett were also involved in the crash, ending their race.

"I'd say that's a big setback," Villeneuve said. "The car was really fast, it was just a bit too loose. It was one time too loose, too many."

The yellow flag waved while the track was cleaned up. After pit stops Kenseth's Ford was in front of Kasey Kahne's Dodge.

Stewart had earlier complained of an engine problem saying his motor was flat.

The green flag waved on lap 23 before Dave Blaney's Toyota engine blew up on lap 25 for another caution.

With Jarrett in jeopardy of missing the field for his final Daytona 500, team owner/driver Michael Waltrip dropped back in the field to try to give his driver a push into the final transfer position. With 17 laps to go, both of Waltrip's cars in this race were in position to make the field including David Reutimann and Jarrett.

Jarrett moved up to third place before losing his wingman, Waltrip, with 12 laps to go.

When Carpentier passed Reutimann with eight laps to go, he had taken away the final transfer spot from the MWR driver.

With three laps to go, Carpentier had lost his tires as his Dodge pushed against the high lane of the track before the tire blew up sending it crashing into the wall. He had run a great race up to that point and making the field for the Daytona 500 was within his grasp.

"I knew the tire was going and it started to push a lot, I started to run high and was hoping it was going to last until the end but it did not," Carpentier said. "It's too bad because my car was so good. I had so much push I couldn't keep up with the guys. I was hoping to do a few more laps but we'll keep working and get them at Fontana."

The race was red-flagged to set up a green, white, checkered finish.

The two cars that made it into Sunday's race on speed were Joe Nemechek and Reutimann with Kurt Busch taking the championship provisional.

Missing the race are two-time Daytona 500 winner Bill Elliott, 23-time Daytona 500 starter Ken Schrader and the Wood Brothers team, which has raced at Daytona either on the old beach course or in the Daytona 500 for the past 62 years.

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