Hamlin fastest in Martinsville Happy Hour

Hamlin fastest in Martinsville Happy Hour

Denny Hamlin making just his third Cup start posted the fastest time in final practice for Nextel Cup teams. Hamlin put the No. 11 Chevy on the top of the charts with a speed of 96.869 mph. Denny Hamlin. Photo by Kurt Dahlstrom. "The...

Denny Hamlin making just his third Cup start posted the fastest time in final practice for Nextel Cup teams. Hamlin put the No. 11 Chevy on the top of the charts with a speed of 96.869 mph.

Denny Hamlin.
Photo by Kurt Dahlstrom.
"The way you drive the late models and the way you drive the Cup cars is basically the same: you want to stay out of the brakes just as much as you can," said Hamlin of Martinsville.

Despite spinning the No. 8 Chevy late in practice, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was second quickest with a lap of 96.259 mph.

I was happy," Earnhardt said of his car. "The car really was bad in (first) practice, so we worked on it and changed the spindles and really was a shot in the dark. I improved on my time. We probably won't start up near the front but the car will get better."

Ricky Rudd, Joe Nemechek and Tony Stewart complete the top five times.

"I'm really happy with the way things are going," said Stewart. "We're just going over things right now to figure out what we've got to do for the race.

Notably, Mark Martin hit the wall during final practice. He will start at the rear of the field in a back-up car for Sunday's Subway 500. It's not that big of a deal for the No. 6 Ford team; they had only qualified 35th.

"I just got high to let the 09go by me and then it just went straight coming off the corner like a right-font went down and then I hit the wall," said Martin. "Then when I hit the wall I broke a brake rotor and didn't have any brakes, so I couldn't get stopped."

Jimmie Johnson, who is tied with Stewart for the series lead, posted the seventh fastest time.

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Series NASCAR-CUP