Denny Hamlin wins the Heluva Good 400 and his first win of 2011 season

Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
The headline of the race weekend was Dale Earnhardt Jr. seeking to end his 3 year drought at the track where he earned his last win but much to the dismay of Jr. Nation, again he was denied.

Racing at Michigan is a battle between the big 3 auto manufacturers – Ford, Chevy and Dodge with bragging rights going to the race winner. As the saying goes, win on Sunday, sell on Monday. Today they were shut out for a win by the Toyota Camry of Denny Hamlin, though Hamlin was not the dominant car of the race.

The Ford camp again showed they are the team to beat this year, Greg Biffle led for 68 laps, Carl Edwards for 30 and Matt Kenseth for 17. Before the final caution (Dale Jr’s accident) the race was in control of Edwards, having a lead over Hamlin by 2-3 seconds at times. Upon the caution, teams pitted for a splash of fuel to avoid the typical fuel mileage race and some teams opted for 2 or 4 tires as well. That set Hamlin up to lead the restart and from there he was off, positions jockeyed behind him but he remained steadfast in the lead. This was Hamlin’s first win on the season.

Race highlights:
  • Lap 9 – caution #1  for Jimmie Johnson spinning in the backstretch after possible contact with AJ Allmendinger
  • Lap 13 – Greg Biffle takes the lead
  • Lap 28 – caution #2 Debris from Robby Gordon hitting the wall
  • Lap 85 – caution #3 Brad Keselowski blows a tire in turn 1
  • Lap 100 – Kyle Busch takes the lead
  • Lap 120 - Martin Truex Jr. gets a pit road penalty after missing a lug nut, requiring him to pit a second time
  • David Reutimann heads to the garage – multiple problems (started p.2 finished p. 35)
  • Lap 160 – caution #4 Juan Pablo Montoya tried to pull onto pit road and hits Andy Lally causing heavy damage to Lally.
  • Lap 192 – caution #5 and the final one Dale Earnhardt Jr. hits the wall in the backstretch after blowing a tire following contact with teammate Mark Martin
Race Results:
  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Matt Kenseth
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Paul Menard
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Tony Stewart
  8. Clint Bowyer
  9. Mark Martin
  10. Bran Vickers
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. Landon Cassill
  13. AJ Allmendinger
  14. Kevin Harvick
  15. Greg Biffle
  16. Trevor Bayne
  17. Jeff Gordon
  18. Joey Logano
  19. Jamie McMurray
  20. David Ragan
  21. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  22. Bobby Labonte
  23. Marcos Ambrose
  24. Jeff Burton
  25. Brad Keselowski
  26. Martin Truex Jr.
  27. Jimmie Johnson
  28. Kasey Kahne
  29. David Gilliland
  30. Juan Pablo Montoya
  31. Travis Kvapil
  32. Mike Bliss
  33. Regan Smith
  34. Dave Blaney
  35. David Reutimann
  36. Andy Lally
  37. Robby Gordon
  38. Casey Mears
  39. JJ Yeley
  40. Joe Nemechek
  41. David Stremme
  42. Scott Riggs
  43. Michael McDowell
Next week the circuit heads west to California wine country to make left and right turns on the road course of Infineon. 
Denny Hamlin wins the Heluva Good 400 and his first win of 2011 season Denny Hamlin wins the Heluva Good 400 and his first win of 2011 season Reviewed by Unknown on Sunday, June 19, 2011 Rating: 5

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