NATIONWIDE Heluva Good 200Final
Hamlin wins Helluva Good 200Jun 1, 2008 - 3:56 AM DOVER, Delaware (Ticker) -- Denny Hamlin feels right at home at the "Monster Mile."
Hamlin won his seventh career NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday, taking the checkered flag in the Helluva Good 200 at Dover International Speedway.
The Chesterfield, Virginia native's average speed of 112.381 miles per hour was good enough to get past a group of five other drivers that included pole-sitter Carl Edwards and 18-year-old phenom Joey Logano.
"It was fairly uneventful at the end," Hamlin said. "We just bided our time at various times during the race and pulled away at the end."
In a Toyota Camry, Hamlin led the final 131 laps on the one-mile oval. It was his second win of 2008 after crossing the finish line first at The Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond on May 2.
"If you can get out there in clean air, your car can really take off," Hamlin said. "We definitely improved on our car, and I think our car was the strongest it had been all day at the end."
The 27-year-old also led the final 138 laps of the RoadLoans.com 200 to win here in September.
It was the ninth win on the circuit for Joe Gibbs Racing and marked the 10th time in 14 chances a Toyota has made its way into winner's circle.
Edwards, who won this race in 2007, finished second in a Ford Fusion.
"Our car did all right," Edwards said. "But second's no fun. It's not what we come here for. But my hat's off to Denny. He did a great job. I just wish I could have got up to him."
David Stremme was third in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, while David Reutimann was fourth in a Toyota.
"We took two tires at the end, and we felt that was a good choice," said Stremme, whose previous best finish at Dover was 16th. "Our car was strong all day. We just couldn't get track position."
It was Stremme's third top-five finish this year.
Greg Biffle rounded out the top five, just five one-hundredths of a second in front of Logano.
A native of Middletown, Connecticut, Logano was making his first career start in a NASCAR event after being targeted at the age of 15 as the next great driver by Gibbs Motor Sports.
"We were a sixth-place car and finished sixth," Logano said. "Overall, it was a good day. I was hoping for that top five, but I screwed up in the pits and put myself in a position that I didn't need to. We'll see what happens next."
The reigning NASCAR Camping World East Series champion who began his career in quarter midget racers at age seven, Logano signed a contract on his birthday last Saturday to appear in 18 events on the Nationwide Series.
Current points leader Clint Bowyer maintained his top spot in the standings by finishing ninth in a Chevy.
Kyle Busch, who won the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway last Saturday, was wrecked by the Toyota of Braun Racing teammate Jason Leffler with 32 laps to go and finished 28th. Busch still is in second place in the standings, 121 points behind Bowyer.
- Heluva Good! 200 Preview May 31