2010-06-17 / Sports

Hamlin Is On A Hot Win Streak

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Denny Hamlin, won his fifth Cup race of the season at Michigan. Denny Hamlin, won his fifth Cup race of the season at Michigan. BROOKLYN, Mich. – Denny Hamlin easily pulled away from Kasey Kahne to win at Michigan for his second consecutive Sprint Cup victory and fifth in the past 10 races.

“It’s been a good year,” said Hamlin. “It’s so easy to drive cars like we had today. I knew a caution was coming just before the end of the race. I just backed off and saved my tires.”

Runner-up Kasey Kahne appeared to have an overheating engine during most of the race.

“It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” said Kahne. “We got some debris on the front, but it never really got too hot. We’ve struggled, so it was nice to get a good finish.”

Kurt Busch finished third.

“We had a strong car early on, but it seemed like we lost a little speed there at the end,” said Busch. “We had solid pit stops with good adjustments, and that’s what a good race team is all about.”

Jeff Gordon was fourth, followed by Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“I enjoyed the car all day,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “It was a good top-10 car. We just didn’t have any speed during qualifying. I won’t really be satisfied until we can get back winning, but this was a good run for us.”

Jeff Burton was eighth, while Greg Biffle and Joey Logano rounded out the top- 10.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 15 of 36: 1. Harvick-2169, 2. Kyle Busch-2147, 3. Hamlin 2122, 4. Kurt Busch-2051, 5. Kenseth-2019, 6. Johnson- 1999, 7. J. Gordon-1987, 8. Burton-1945, 9. Biffle-1865, 10. Edwards-1856, 11. Stewart 1840, 12. Martin-1826

Three-peat for Logano

Joey Logano became the first driver in series history to win three consecutive races at one track from the pole as he held off Carl Edwards for the Nationwide win Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.

Logano, 20, has won the pole and the race every time he has raced at the 1.5-mile track. The victory in 2008 was his first in one of NASCAR’s national series.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series double-duty drivers swept the top three positions, as Edwards finished second and NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader Brad Keselowski was third. Edwards moved up one spot in the standings to second, and is 272 points behind Keselowski.

Gaughan finished fourth, with Reed Sorenson fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Steve Wallace, Scott Wimmer, Justin Allgaier, Scott Riggs and Raybestos Rookie Colin Braun.

Top-10 points leaders after 14 of 35: 1. Keselowski- 2306, 2. Edwards-2034, 3. Allgaier 1993, 4. Kyle Busch- 1945, 5. Harvick-1852, 6. Menard-1745, 7. Logano-1593, 8. S. Wallace-1536, 9. Gaughan- 1530, 10. Leffler-1450

Almirola gets Michigan truck race

Aric Almirola passed Todd Bodine and Kyle Busch three-wide through the middle with seven laps left in Saturday’s VFW 200 and held on to win the Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

Bodine finished second and retained his series lead by 55 points over Almirola, who won for the second time this season in Billy Ballew’s No. 51 Toyota. Busch ran third, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr. and polesitter Austin Dillon, who overcame a late pit-road penalty to post his second straight top five.

“I didn’t think it was the greatest place to be,” Almirola said of his middle position after a restart on Lap 93 of 100. “But I knew we were going to run wide open through the corner. We were either going to crash, or we were going to make it out the other side – because I knew how important clean air was.

“I knew that was my only shot to get out in the lead, and if I didn’t get out in the lead, there was no chance of us winning the race. So went down in Turn 1, and knew I was going to run shorter distance than Todd (who was on the outside), so I just tried to hang tight on Kyle’s door and get him loose, which I did.

“By the time we got off Turn 2, I was almost clear of Todd, and then when we went through (turns) 3 and 4, I cleared him. So I think that was the move of the race, as far as I’m concerned.”

Top-10 points leaders after 9 of 25: 1. Bodine-1443, 2. Almirola-1388, 3. Peters-1278, 4. Hornaday-1273, 5. Sauter- 1179, 6. Skinner-1171, 7. White-1145, 8. Starr-1132, 9. Carmichael-1107, 10. Crafton- 1098

Weekend racing

The Cup and Nationwide teams each have road courses venues this weekend. The Cup teams are at Sonoma, Calif., while the Nationwide teams race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Sat., June 19, Nationwide Series Road America, race 15 of 35; Starting time: 1:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.

Sun., Jun 20, Sprint Cup Toyota/SaveMart 350, race 16 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. ET; TV: TNT.

Racing trivia question: How many Cup teams does Hendrick Motorsports have?

Last week’s question: Where is the NASCAR Hall of Fame located? It opened in May 2010, in Charlotte, N.C. You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net.

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