Hamlin Rallies at Richmond to Finish Fourth; Virginia Native Picks Up 23 Positions En Route to Fifth Top-10 at RIR After logging 400 laps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Denny Hamlin quickly changed...
Hamlin Rallies at Richmond to Finish Fourth; Virginia Native Picks Up 23 Positions En Route to Fifth Top-10 at RIR
After logging 400 laps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Denny Hamlin quickly changed into a fresh firesuit and drove for 250 more laps around the .75-mile oval in his No. 18 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota.
Sunday night's rain-postponed Emerson Radio 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond was Hamlin's second event of the day, and after finishing third in the Sprint Cup race a few hours earlier, the 27-year-old from Chesterfield, Va., finished an impressive fourth in his eighth career Nationwide Series race at Richmond.
All told, Hamlin drove 487.5 miles at speeds as fast as 130 mph. Good thing he was covered by Farm Bureau Insurance.
"I feel alright. I feel a lot better than what I figured I would," said Hamlin, who won the May Nationwide Series race at Richmond, where he led the final 12 laps and finished .789 of a second ahead of second-place Kevin Harvick. "I'm glad the fans got to see at least two full races instead of a washout like it would've been."
Making the effort even more impressive was that qualifying for the Emerson Radio 250 was rained-out, which forced NASCAR to line up the 43-car field by owner points. That put Hamlin's No. 18 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota in 27th when the green flag dropped, but it proved of little matter to the eight-time Nationwide Series race winner, as Hamlin was in the top-five on lap 84 and by the end of the night had picked up 23 positions en route to his fifth top-10 Nationwide Series result at Richmond.
"I think we had a pretty decent run," Hamlin said. "We had a second-place car or a third-place car most of the day, but we just couldn't quite get the car turning good enough in the middle (of the corner) to hang with those guys. If we did, we just got too loose off. Balance wasn't too bad all day. It was a good run for the whole Farm Bureau Insurance team and it's definitely good to be back with these guys. We didn't exactly practice in the conditions in which we raced in. So, it's kind of a tough deal going back from one to the other."
The fourth-place effort propelled the No. 18 car, which has run only a partial schedule so far this season, up one spot to 26th in the Nationwide Series owner standings.
Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Joey Logano, started first and finished seventh in his No. 20 Toyota.
Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 car -- which is being campaigned for the full Nationwide Series schedule -- remains first in the Nationwide Series owner standings, 78 points ahead of the No. 2 entry of Richard Childress Racing with only seven races remaining.
There were nine caution periods for 50 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 250-lap race.