2010-06-10 / Sports

Fourth Pocono Win For Hamlin

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin LONG POND, Pa. – Denny Hamlin got his fourth Sprint Cup win at Pocono Sunday after surviving a green-white-checkered finish that saw 10 cars wreck behind him.

“We knew we had a good car at the beginning of the race,” said Hamlin. “This is one of my favorite tracks, and I knew if we stayed out of trouble, we’d have a good chance of winning today.”

The race ended with a huge crash that launched Kasey Kahne’s car off the ground and collected several drivers, including Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Greg Biffle and others. Kahne ran through the grass after being blocked by AJ Allmendinger, causing Kahne to lose control of his car and spin back across the track. He was hit by Biffle and Martin, lifting Kahne’s car off the track and sending several cars spinning.

A few laps earlier, Joey Logano spun after he and Kevin Harvick brushed.

The two drivers were racing for a top-five position when Harvick got into Logano’s left-rear quarterpanel, sending him spinning. A furious Logano parked his car near Harvick’s on pit road after the race and had to be restrained by his crew as he went after Harvick. Logano yelled at Harvick for several seconds before being led away by his crew.

Harvick didn’t see it that way.

Hamlin’s teammate, Kyle Busch, finished second, followed by Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Juan Montoya, Clint Bowyer, A. J. Allmendinger, Sam Hornish, and Carl Edwards.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th, but never led a lap.

The start of the race was delayed approximately one hour, 45 minutes after a heavy rain hit the track as the cars were taking their warm-up laps.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 14 of 36: 1. Harvick-2063, 2. Kyle Busch-2044, 3. Hamlin-1927, 4. Kenseth-1905, 5. J. Gordon 1839, 6. Burton-1812, 7. Kurt Busch-1804, 8. Johnson 1770, 9. Edwards-1736, 10. Martin-1723, 11. Biffle- 1715, 12. Bowyer-1694

Keselowski picks up guitar at Nashville

Brad Keselowski led a race-high 97 laps en route to victory ahead of Carl Edwards in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday night. The win is the third Nationwide Series win of 2010 for the first-year Penske Racing driver, and the ninth win of his career. He now has a bookend Gibson guitar trophy from Nashville to go with the one he won in 2008, which was his first series victory.

Top-10 leaders after12 of 35: 1. Keselowski-1946, 2. Kyle Busch-1945, 3. Harvick-1852, 4. Edwards-1689, 5. Allgaier- 1681, 6. Menard-1513, 7. Logano-1398, 8. Biffle-1368, 9. Leffler-1350, 10. Raines-1249

Bodine Texas truck winner

Todd Bodine dominated at Texas Motor Speedway to win Friday’s WinStar World Casino 400k and made his sixth career trip to Victory Lane at the track.

Bodine drove away from four-time and reigning series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. and Timothy Peters on a green-white-checkered flag restart to notch his sixth career victory on TMS’ 1.5-mile oval, and third in the summer event here. Bodine snapped a 24-race winless streak dating to June 5, 2009.

Johnny Sauter finished second, followed by rookie polesitter Austin Dillon, former series champion Mike Skinner and super-sub Ken Schrader. Bodine’s margin of victory after 169 laps was 1.007-seconds.

Top-10 leaders after 8 of 25: 1. Bodine-1263, 2. Almirola-1198, 3. Peters- 1128, 4. Hornaday-1108, 5. Sauter-1058, 6. Skinner- 1044, 7. Crafton-1011, 8. White-999, 9. Starr-989, 10. Carmichael-989

Roush and Ford teams struggling

Jack Roush’s race teams are winless since Jamie Mc- Murray’s win last October at Talladega, and none of the current drivers have won since Matt Kenseth won the first two races of 2009.

Though Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards are all in the top-11 in points, they haven’t been close to winning, and Biffle is slumping after a fast start. Edwards, who won nine races in 2008, is barely hanging on in the top 12.

Biffle had the best car at Charlotte, but couldn’t hang on at the end.

“We just can’t get our car to drive right,” Biffle said. “I was over driving it. We just want to run up front so bad and we were good, then bad. We were very hit and miss. The car just wandered around a lot out there tonight.”

Eventually, it wandered into the wall, ruining a good night for Biffle and costing him two spots in the standings.

“I just couldn’t drive it,” he said. “We got really loose in the corner and it just flat out got away from me. That pretty much did us in right there.”

While Roush continues to struggle, it also looks as if the organization has had little impact on Richard Petty Motorsports, which merged with Yates Racing during the offseason and is getting assistance from Roush.

Paul Menard finished eighth at Charlotte and teammates Kasey Kahne and AJ Allmendinger finished 12th and 14th, respectively, but none of the drivers were serious contenders and it was one of the organization’s best races of the season.

Allmendinger summed up RPM’s performance:

“We were terrible,” he said. “I am proud of my guys for taking a 25th-place car and getting 15th out of it. … It wasn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t fun. We got a decent day out of something that wasn’t good.”

Pocono and Michigan have been Roush strongholds over the years, but Kenseth says the organization has a long way to go to return to good form.

“Everybody is working on it as hard as they can, but we just have to keep working on it,” he said. “We don’t have anything that can possibly win against those guys right now, but we will keep working on it.”

Carl Edwards had nine wins in 2008, but has been winless ever since.

“Here is the deal,” Edwards said. “Roush Fenway and the Ford race cars are not as fast as we need to be right now.

“What we need to do is just be faster.

“People ask me all different ways about that – but the point is we just aren’t fast enough.

“And, yes, it is very important for everyone to stay upbeat and keep working and do the best you can. We can’t let the frustration snowball and make things worse.

“That is probably one of the toughest things as a human – when things aren’t going well, to keep your head up and press on.”

Weekend racing: The Cup cars and Camping World Trucks are at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway, while the Nationwide teams battle each at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.

Saturday, June 12, Camping World Trucks, race 9 of 25; Starting time: 2 p.m. ET; TV: Speed.

Saturday, June 12, Nationwide Series, race 14 of 35; Stating time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN.

Sunday, June 13, Sprint Cup Heluva Good 400, race 15 of 36; 1 p.m. ET; TV: TNT.

Racing trivia question: Where is the NASCAR Hall of Fame located?

Last week’s question: How many Cup championships did former Cup driver Dale Jarrett win? Answer. His only championship came in 1999.

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