Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hamlin wins first career Camping World Truck Series race, tempers flare at Martinsville

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

For the first time in his successful career, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Denny Hamlin invaded the Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway and won his very first series race. Hamlin, driving the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, drove to victory in front of a hometown crowd, leading 68 of 200 laps - more than any other driver - and becoming the 13th different driver to earn a win in all three of NASCAR’s national series.

Truck Series championship contender Ron Hornaday Jr. finished second after leading 31 laps and moved himself up to third in the points standings, as he now sits 15th points out of the lead with two races remaining.

Points leader Austin Dillon finished third after leading 45 laps and has an 11 point lead over second-place James Buescher. Johnny Sauter and Joey Coulter rounded out the top 5.

Saturday afternoon’s race was filled with tempers and torn-up trucks after nine cautions over the 200-lap race slowed the field, not to mention several other incidents in which NASCAR elected not to call the caution. After the checkered flag flew, several drivers expressed their displeasure on the cool-down lap with much of the anger being directed towards Todd Bodine.

Bodine and Germain Racing teammate Max Papis went back-and-forth on the racetrack several times before Bodine spun Papis on the backstretch. The two exchanged words in the garage area post-race and away from television cameras. While Papis elected not to speak with the media, Bodine had plenty to say about the incident.

“We had plenty of problems,” said Bodine. “It started off on pit road when Max—I was gonna hit that pit crew! I don’t know what he was thinking literally turning into the side of me off the corner and getting off the gas and he wasn’t going anywhere. Finally I just turned him around and got rid of him.”

Papis finished 18th.

In addition, championship contender Buescher and Bodine were angry with each other as well. After Buescher moved Bodine out of the way for position on the final lap, Bodine ran Buescher into two other trucks up ahead of him on the cool-down lap and severely damaged the front end of Buescher’s car.  Afterwards, Buescher intentionally spun Bodine into the infield wall right at the entrance to the garage area on the backstretch. Buescher finished one spot ahead of Bodine in 10th.

Meanwhile, Timothy Peters and Brendan Gaughan also had their own issues to sort through post-race. Gaughan, unhappy with the way Peters raced him in the waning few laps of the event, tapped Peters’ bumper on the cool-down lap and suffered damage of his own when Bodine pushed Buescher into Gaughan’s truck. Peters and Buescher also exchanged words after the race, both expressing frustration and pointing fingers.

 Peters finished eighth, with Gaughan right behind him in ninth.

The series heads to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for the semi-final race of the season. The WinStar World Casino 350k will be broadcast live on SPEED Friday, November 4th, at 8PM ET on SPEED. 

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