NSCS: Defending Winner’s Day Done; Little Slip Puts Hamlin in Martinsville Wall

Kyle Magda Featured, NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Report by Race Chaser Online Northeast Correspondent Kyle Magda — Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America photo —

Denny Hamlin’s hopes of defending his spring Martinsville win came to a crashing halt Sunday afternoon.

Hamlin was running fifth until wheel-hopping the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry in Turn 1 and lost control of his car, sending the five-time Martinsville winner into the wall and dashing any hopes of adding another grandfather clock to his trophy collection.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever done that here,” Hamlin said to FOX Sports 1. “A little embarrassing, but we were the best car those last 30 laps. We had gotten back to the top five and was picking up a lot of my speed on entry. As the tires wear, the rears get hotter, less grip, you can’t brake at the same amount, but it was really out of the blue. Never had a hint of it up until that moment.”

Rookie drivers aren’t the only ones to always make small mistakes, it can also come from the more-experienced drivers who have more laps turned at Martinsville Speedway than drivers like Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney.

Hamlin won last year’s STP 500 at Martinsville to lock a spot in the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup leading to winning the Chase opener at Chicagoland in September. The Virginia driver has one win in 2016 coming to the Paper Clip to this weekend after starting the season up with a win in the 58th Daytona 500. Since then, Hamlin finished outside the top-15 in the next two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas, but recorded back-to-back third-place showings at Phoenix and Auto Club to cap off the West Coast swing.

He was one of the race’s six cautions resulting in the poor Martinsville finish, the worst finish in Hamlin’s Cup career there.

“Bit of a rookie move on my part. I’ve been around here too much to do something like that. But learning for the fall and I’m really encouraged about how good our car came up through the pack. I really thought we had a car that could win.”

Hamlin’s slide continues into next Saturday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway where he has two wins in the Lone Star state.

 

About the Writer

Kyle Magda is a Northeast Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and a co-host of both Motorsports Madness and the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show, airing at 7 p.m. ET on Monday and Thursday nights, respectively, on the Performance Motorsports Network. Magda broke into racing in mid-2001 as the sport’s tide was beginning to change towards the current modern-era formula, but still has an affinity for the history of NASCAR’s earlier days.

The 22-year-old is a graduate of Penn State University and can be found traveling to numerous tracks across the country, covering everything from NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series to the UNOH All-Stars Circuit of Champions and the Super Cup Stock Car Series.

Email Kyle at: kmagda@ptd.net

Follow on Twitter: @KyleMagda

Email Race Chaser Online: news@racechaseronline.com

Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews

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