t looked more like a day race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) but after a long afternoon of beating and banging not to mention a hefty amount of cautions, an ailing Denny Hamlin persevered through the slug fest to take Saturday’s RoadLoans.com 200 win.
It was Hamlin’s fifth career NASCAR Busch Series victory in 88 starts and third of the season, the first at Dover International Speedway.
Throughout the course of the weekend Hamlin has been battling symptoms of the flu but you never would have noticed after Hamlin proved to have the strongest machine during Saturday’s event. Hamlin’s new teammate for 2008, Kyle Busch was waiting on the sidelines in case the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series chase contender couldn’t go the distance.
Busch never had a chance.
After gambling late in the race for four tires and fuel, Hamlin maneuvered his way back through the pack to battle local hero Martin Truex, Jr. before overtaking the DEI machine inside 10 laps to go to take the victory. Throughout the event Hamlin led a dominating 188 laps of the scheduled 200 circuts.
Martin Truex, Jr. carrying the Sea Watch International colors finished second. Matt Kenseth who started deep in the field recovered from an early race incident to finish third, followed by Fitz Motorsports driver Mike Bliss and Reed Sorenson in his last stint in the Busch Series this season completed the top-five.
The 29th event of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series didn’t come without some attention. A race that was triggered with a record-setting 13 yellow flags and tempers.
The steepest incident of the day included a tiff between NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers Tony Raines and Robby Gordon. The two made contact on lap 59 with Raines getting the raw end of the deal ending the day hard in the wall.
Climbing from his Kevin Harvick, Inc. RoadLoans.com sponsored Chevrolet, Raines was told from his spotter that he was intentionally taken out which angered the Laporte, Indiana native causing him to throw his helmet at the No. 27 Brewco Motorsports machine driven by Gordon. Raines missed as the helmet hit the track and bounced off the rear of Gordon’s Kleenex-Rite Aid sponsored autombile. A penalty from NASCAR is expected Tuesday.
Point’s leader Carl Edwards finished sixth in his World Group Financial Ford Fusion; he was followed by JR Motorsports Brad Keselowski in the NAVY Chevrolet. Keselowski was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie.
Jason Keller carrying new colors from InvestLinc carried his CJM Racing team to a strong eighth place effort. Pole sitter Greg Biffle recovered from two laps down and a flat tire to net ninth. David Reuitmann in the Aaron’s Dream Machine for Michael Waltrip Racing closed out the top-10.
Other notables in the top-20 included; Bobby Hamilton, Jr. (12), Mike Wallace (13), Casey Atwood (14), Chase Miller (16), Landon Cassill (19) and Marcos Ambrose in a backup machine (20).
A.J. Allmendinger who spent most of the event running competitively in the top-10 lost a tire late in the race. Stopped on the track, Allmendinger, the driver of the No. 84 Red Bull TOYOTA Camry in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series caused a yellow flag which angered NASCAR. They backfired penalizing the rookie one lap for intentionally causing a caution. He finished 21st, the only machine one lap down.
Next up for the NASCAR Busch Series is a stop in Kansas City, Kansas for the Yellow Transportation 300 on Saturday, September 29.