Kansas: Denny Hamlin race report

JACKPOT! HAMLIN WINS KANSAS LOTTERY 300 Z-Line Designs Drivers Notches 17th Nationwide Series Win of 2008 for Joe Gibbs Racing For the second straight weekend, the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota made a "Z-Line" to victory lane. After Joe...

JACKPOT! HAMLIN WINS KANSAS LOTTERY 300
Z-Line Designs Drivers Notches 17th Nationwide Series Win of 2008 for Joe Gibbs Racing

For the second straight weekend, the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota made a "Z-Line" to victory lane.

After Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Kyle Busch dominated last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway by leading three times for a race-high 157 laps en route to the No. 18 team's seventh win of 2008, Denny Hamlin took the baton at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and delivered another dominant performance.

Hamlin led twice for 99 laps in Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300, including the final 43 laps of the 200-lap race, to score his ninth career Nationwide Series win and his first win of any kind at Kansas.

It was yet another chapter in what has become a Nationwide Series season written by JGR, as the powerhouse team scored its series-leading 17th Nationwide Series win after 30 of 35 races (56.7 percent). The victory also secured the manufacturer's championship in the Nationwide Series for Toyota.

"What a great accomplishment for Toyota to come into this sport and two years later lock up a championship in the Nationwide Series. That means a lot," said Hamlin, who is responsible for four of JGR's Nationwide Series wins in 2008. "They've been a manufacturer that has been behind this race team 120 percent. If we have any problems, any complaints, they're the first to go to work on it. We've gotten all the tools we need to go win for them."

Hamlin's run to the checkers was aided in large part by his pit crew. The Z-Line Designs Toyota began the 300-mile race pushing through the track's corners. It was only after a handful of chassis adjustments during some lightning-quick pit stops that allowed Hamlin to pick up the lead for the first time after pitting under caution on lap 93.

"We made adjustments every pit stop," said Hamlin, who drove from 19th in the 43-car field. "Everyone on this race team never gave up. We didn't have the best car in qualifying, didn't have the best car at the beginning of the race, but the whole Z-Line Designs crew did a great job making the adjustments throughout the race and the car just kept getting better and better.

"It was probably a top-five car or a mid-top-10 car for the first 75 laps, and then we had one adjustment that really made the car take off. I think it was the second or third pit stop. Joel (Weidman, co-crew chief) and Mike (Ford, co-crew chief) got together and did some great adjustments on the car and it got better each time I came on pit road."

The result allowed the No. 18 car, which has run only a partial schedule so far this season, to maintain its 26th position in the Nationwide Series owner standings.

Hamlin's JGR teammate, Joey Logano, started 13th in the No. 20 Toyota and finished ninth to score his 10th top-10 finish in 14 career Nationwide Series races since making debut May 31 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The No. 20 team continues to lead the Nationwide Series owner standings by 33 points over the No. 2 entry of Richard Childress Racing.

There were six caution periods for 31 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the Kansas Lottery 300.

Finishing 1.407 seconds behind Hamlin in the runner-up spot was Clint Bowyer. David Ragan finished third, while his Roush Fenway teammates, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, secured the rest of the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Logano and Kelly Bires comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The Nationwide Series takes a rare weekend off before heading to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., for the Oct. 10 Dollar General 300. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN2 beginning with its pre-race show at 7:30 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

The Z-Line Designs Toyota returns to action Nov. 15 with Busch at the wheel for the season-ending Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jason Leffler , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , David Ragan , Denny Hamlin , Kelly Bires , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing