Martinsville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) – Denny Hamlin ended a 31-race winless
streak in the Sprint Cup Series after beating Brad Keselowski in a fierce
battle for the lead in the closing laps of Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville
Hamlin, who hails from nearby Chesterfield, Virginia, passed Matt Kenseth, his
Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, for the lead with 28 laps to go. Keselowski, the
winner of last weekend’s race in Fontana, California, challenged Hamlin for
the top spot during the last 20 laps of this 500-lap race.
Coming out of the final turn of the last lap, Keselowski nudged Hamlin from
behind in an attempt to take the lead. Hamlin wiggled slightly but held on to
it, beating Keselowski to the finish line by just 0.186 seconds for his 25th
career Sprint Cup win but his first since last May at Talladega.
It’s also the fifth time Hamlin has won a Cup race at Martinsville, a 0.526-
Joey Logano, the pole sitter, finished third after winning Saturday’s Camping
World Truck Series race here. Kenseth ended up finishing fourth, while David
Ragan, substituting for the injured Kyle Busch in JGR’s No. 18 car, placed
fifth. Martin Truex Jr. and Danica Patrick were sixth and seventh,
Kevin Harvick’s attempt to finish in the top-two in nine consecutive races
came up short with an eighth-place run. Harvick had finished either first or
second in the last three races last year and the first five events this
season. He led the most laps in this race with 154.