Denny Hamlin rekindled his Martinsville Speedway magic Sunday afternoon to capture the STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
It was Hamlin’s fifth Martinsville Speedway win, but his first since the fall of 2010. The win also ended a 32-race winless streak for Toyota dating back to May of last year.
“Every time we got to the lead our car just got so loose that it was very hard for me to hang onto it,” Hamlin said after his 15th top-10 finish in 19 races at Martinsville Speedway. “The success that I’ve had at this race track comes from watching guys like Bugs Hairfield, Roy Hendrick, Ray Hendrick, Eddie Johnson and those guys that I idolized growing up racing late models and showed me the way to short-track racing. This win is for guys like that.”
Brad Keselowski turned in his best Martinsville finish, a second, and made several hard challenges to Hamlin down the stretch.
“It was a fun race. The best we’ve ever been here at Martinsville. I’m pumped about that but a little disappointed that I’m not taking home the clock (trophy),” said Keselowski after posting his fifth top-10 finish in 2015. “I did everything I could other than wreck him. I hit him pretty good a couple of times. Don’t know what more I could have done but drive through him.”
Hamlin appreciated Keselowski’s decision.
“Hat’s off to Brad. He had an option (to wreck him) and he took the latter and I thank him for that,” said Hamlin. “We had some great short-track racing the last few laps.”
Pole-sitter Joey Logano finished third, followed by Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. Martin Truex was sixth while Danica Patrick was seventh, her best Martinsville finish. Rounding out the top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray.
There were 31 lead changes among 13 drivers. There were 16 caution periods for 112 laps.
Tickets are on sale and start at just $40. Anyone ordering tickets through Friday, April 3 will become part of the MY MARTINSVILLE program, which include an exclusive My Martinsville℠ membership hard-card and lanyard which is separate from the race ticket; access to My Martinsville℠ quick-entry-gates; My Martinsville℠ members’ event Saturday of race week; and hot laps around Martinsville Speedway, dates TBA.