NATIONWIDE Lipton Tea 250Final
Hamlin wins Lipton Tea 250May 3, 2008 - 5:29 AM RICHMOND, Virginia (Ticker) -- Denny Hamlin made his dream come true.
Hamlin won his sixth career NASCAR Nationwide Series race, taking the checkered flag at the Lipton Tea 250 with an average speed of 96.236 miles per hour on Friday.
In a Toyota Camry, Hamlin led for just 12 of the 253 total laps at the Richmond International Raceway to collect the fifth straight victory for Joe Gibbs Racing, including a third straight in the No. 20 car.
For the 27-year-old Hamlin, it was his first win here - just 15 minutes from where he grew up in Chesterfield, Virginia.
"It's unbelievable that we were able to get this done in my home state," Hamlin said in Victory Lane. "This is my biggest win."
The 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year held off challenges from Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Steve Wallace to earn his first victory on the circuit in 2008.
Before this race, Hamlin had stated that he'd rather win here than any other track - including Daytona and Indianapolis.
He now has two chances to do that twice after a very busy day at RIR.
Hamlin qualified third for this event early Friday afternoon before going out and capturing the pole for the Sprint Cup Series prior to this night race. The Crown Royal 400 will run on Saturday.
After the eighth caution of the night with just four laps to go, officials determined the race would end in a green-white checkered finish. It benefited Hamlin and Busch the most, who both took on four new tires after the sixth caution with 22 laps left.
After the pace car left the track with two laps to go, Hamlin led all the way to the winner's circle in his sixth Nationwide start this season.
Harvick, who led for 98 laps, finished second in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, while Busch, who started all the way back from 25th position, came in third in a Toyota.
Wallace was fourth in a Chevy and Dave Ragan finished fifth in a Ford Fusion.
- Lipton Tea 250 Preview May 2