Denny Hamlin moved to within six points of Jimmie Johnson in the championship Chase after winning Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Hamlin started on the pole, but dealt with an ill-handling car early in the race. He fell back as far as 15th before his pit crew made proper adjustments on the car, which helped him get back into contention for the win. Hamlin grabbed the lead from Kevin Harvick with 30 laps remaining, and then held it for his third consecutive win at Martinsville.
“It’s unbelievable; I don’t think I’ve ever closed that well before,” said Hamlin, who hails from nearby Chesterfield, VA. “We just kept on working. We did not have a race-winning car all day until the very end. [Crew chief] Mike [Ford] and the guys kept on adjusting on the car. They helped me get from sixth to third on that last restart, and that was the key.”
He has now won four races at this 0.526-mile short track, with his first victory here coming in March 2008.