Hamlin Secures Runner-Up Finish at MartinsvilleOctober 29, 2018
Denny Hamlin finished second in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, capitalizing on long-run speed to collect his third Stage win of the season and position the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota for its second runner-up finish in its past four starts.
Hamlin lined up fourth for the race’s final restart on lap 463, but he was forced to settle into fifth as the leaders fought side-by-side for position. He continued to battle his way to the front of the field as the laps ticked and moved into third with only a handful of laps remaining.
In the final lap, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. collided as they fought for the top spot, and Denny dove to the bottom of the track to avoid the melee and catapult his way to a second-place result.
“Hats off to my FedEx team for giving me a great car that could win,” said Hamlin, who posted his 10th top-five finish of the season after his second-place run at Martinsville. “We had great long-run speed all day, and with those guys (Logano and Truex Jr.) leaning on one another there in the end, I knew I’d have a shot. Just needed a tenth of second more to close the deal at the end.”
Hamlin qualified third for Sunday’s 500-lap event at Martinsville, taking over the lead on two separate occasions during the race’s opening segment. Hamlin moved around his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to take over the top spot with only 15 laps remaining in the segment, eventually pulling away through lapped traffic to secure the Stage 1 win.
In the race’s second Stage, Hamlin maintained his position within the field’s top four for the entirety of the segment, maneuvering his way to second behind Logano in the closing laps. He challenged him the for the Stage 2 win, but was barely edged out by the No. 22.
Hamlin’s second-place finish at Martinsville moves him up one spot to 11th in the overall points standings. The Series returns to action next Sunday, Nov. 4 at Texas Motor Speedway.