Hamlin claims second career NWCST victory at Martinsville

Tundra driver Denny Hamlin claimed his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory in Saturday afternoon's race at Martinsville Speedway.

Race winner Denny Hamlin celebrates
Race winner Denny Hamlin celebrates

Photo by: Getty Images

Hamlin was forced to start from the back of the 36-truck field due to missing the driver's meeting and worked his way to the lead for six laps (of 200) en route to his sixth NASCAR win at the half-mile Virginia speedway.

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 51 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 1st

How much do you enjoy racing at Martinsville? "Yeah, I love this place and, man, that's short track racing at its finest. I gave the 88 (Matt Crafton) extra room on the outside. I went to the second lane and didn't want to crowd him into (turn) one and tried to pass him on the outside and he shoved up into me and pushed me into the third groove. I just got back to him, so I didn't wreck him or anything like that -- you're going have contact at Martinsville. I would expect the same thing from anyone else. I tell you've I lost a bunch that way and just proud of this whole effort. Nelson (Piquet) and those guys came a long way on this track and just got to thank everyone from Toyota for putting this deal together -- they didn't really have much of a sponsor for it -- thanks for having me back. Just got to thank everyone who is a part of this program because I don't get to race these races that often, so I've got to take advantage of them when I do."

What did Matt Crafton say to you in victory lane? "He (Matt Crafton) was really excited about finishing fourth. He was excited about it. No, what do you expect? You're the leader with a few laps to go and if you rewind the tape from Cup in 2008 or 2009, I think I was in that same position and Jimmie Johnson pulled that same exact move on me and we got the bad end of that deal. When you're the leader with a few laps to go, you've got to expect it. You're at Martinsville. You can't wreck the guy -- that's off limits, but to move him up and out of the groove, that's standard protocol at this type of race track. For us, I tried to run him clean into (turn) one -- I gave him a little bit of extra room because I saw that he had been sliding up the race track -- driving in too deep and sliding up. He still came up and shot us up in the third lane. When I went into the next corner I just showed my displeasure and got in to the back of him and got him up the race track. I would have done that anyway -- it wouldn't have mattered if it was that lap or one to go. I knew that it was important to get the lead as soon as possible simply because with these restarts the outside line was just not preferred."

Should NASCAR allow you to miss the Truck Series driver's meeting with no penalty? "It would be like our 1,000th drivers meeting. I don't know -- race procedures don't change that much, but I understand where they're at. Things do run a little bit different in the Truck Series, so it's import ant to be there. With the rain that happened and obviously our draw for qualifying, we're going out last -- there was no way that I could give up 15 minutes of Cup practice. It was already shortened anyway because of the rain. It just made no sense. I felt bad for these guys that possibly you cost yourself a win, but I had to do what I had to do to make sure I was in the right position in the Cup series because that's what I'm here for. Obviously, I want to give these guys a good run, but I have to do everything I can to make sure the championship is still an option for us."

Is it important to race today to learn for tomorrow? "I think it will be important -- the setups are nothing alike so you can't take that part of it, but you can take the strategy. You can look at tire wear and say that we pitted at a certain amount of laps or here on the truck we ran this many laps before we pitted. We can see how the cycles went at the end. I think that's something we can learn, but other than that not a whole lot translates. The techniques that I use personally around this race track applies to both series so for me, it's just more laps on the race track and continuing to learn to be better."

Does it still mean a lot to win in your home state? "Absolutely. It really doesn't matter what series, it's always a big thrill. For me, somewhat of a bigger thrill because these guys (Kyle Busch Motorsports) hadn't gotten in the win column in the Truck Series yet. It was a big deal for me and for them. I know these guys work really hard and Kyle (Busch, team owner) works really hard to get this program where it needs to be. You come in hoping that you can make a difference and I think we did that today."

Why did you run this Truck race when you are in the Chase? "One thing is that I do feel like there is merit to working your technique at this particular race track. At other race tracks where there's higher speeds, you drive the two totally different -- it's not even the same. This -- between the Truck Series and the Cup cars -- is the two most similar two races that we have on any track I feel like. This is the closest to a Cup car in simulation as this can be, so I think thi s is one that I can continue to just stay fresh with how I continue to drive this race track."

RICK REN, general manager and crew chief, Kyle Busch Motorsports

What does it mean for the team to get this win? "We've had a little dry spell this year. It seems like we've had kind of a monkey on our back across all of the divisions. Denny (Hamlin) did a great job starting from the back today and showing patience. We made an adjustment and got him off a little bit, but brought it back around to his liking. Just a great day for all of us."

MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 ZECOL/Menards Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing Finishing Position: 4th

What happened when Denny Hamlin passed you? "If you want to call that a pass -- that's just moving somebody. Running in the back of somebody -- that doesn't take anything. Anybody can do that. I didn't let the tires come up quite clean enough on the last restart -- I do admit that. That's part of it. I didn't get my tires cleaned up, but I did not run into the back of him. All in all, great day for the Menards Toyota Tundra. We were there all day and we were contending to win. We will win us a couple by the end of the season."

What did you tell Denny Hamlin in victory lane? "I told him that it took a lot of man to run in the back of somebody. Not even try to pass me -- didn't even run behind me for one lap to see what he can do, just ran in the back of me -- that's all he did."

TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 7th

How did the truck handle in the race? "We bolted on that last set of tires and our Tundra just did not like them. We did what we had to do to salvage a good day. We started on the pole, we led some laps -- the points battle closed up pretty good, so we're going to Texas and Phoenix and Homestead and see what happens."

PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 7 Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 9th

How was the race? "Well, we had a fast Toyota Tundra all weekend and I was excited about our chances at the beginning of the race. We had a brake issue surface in practice and thought we fixed it, but it turns out when we got into the race they were absolutely gone. Running a race like Martinsville without brakes is tough, but my crew chief Chad Kendrick and the guys never ga ve up and got me back on the lead lap after we lost it. I had a line figured out that worked without the brakes so we salvaged a decent finish thanks to this Red Horse Racing team."

BRIAN SCOTT, No. 18 Shore Lodge Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 10th

What happened with Nelson Piquet Jr. in the closing laps? "We had a good run going in our Shore Lodge Toyota. I just have to thank Kyle (Busch, team owner) for giving me the opportunity to drive this. We had a good truck. I don't know if we had a truck that could have kept up with Denny (Hamlin) -- congratulations to him -- but we had a top-five truck. There's a correct way to dive bomb somebody and an incorrect way. He (Nelson Piquet Jr.) wasn't even close and he drove in there and should have wrecked us all. Luckily, I was able to save it. I thought it was a stupid move. I was just letting him know."

TODD BODINE, No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 22nd

How was the race? "Unfortunately, Martinsville short track racing gave us trouble early today and a jam up on a restart gave our Tundra some damage. The Toyota Care team did a great job getting us back out quickly after the damage, but we struggled after that to fight back. The first run of the day we were pretty good but we just didn't have enough in our Tundra today for a better finish."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR-TRUCK
Article type Race report
Tags bodine, busch, crafton, hamlin, kbm, kligerman, martinsville, peters, scott, toyota