Hamlin Wins Second Straight Darlington Busch Race - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Hamlin Wins Second Straight Darlington Busch Race

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) -- Denny Hamlin won his second straight Diamond Hill Plywood 200 on Friday night, again surviving a wreck-filled Busch Series event at Darlington Raceway.

Hamlin, fourth in the Nextel Cup standings, raced to his third Busch Series victory -- and won from the pole at "The Lady In Black" for the second consecutive year.

Not that it was easy.

Hamlin picked his way through a record-tying 10 caution periods to take the checkered flag. The race matched the 10 cautions from April 1984. A year ago, there were nine caution periods.

Hamlin stood strong through a final restart with six laps left. Busch points leader Carl Edwards got as close as Hamlin's window as he dove low in turn one trying to take the lead, but Hamlin powered through the turn and was never tested again.

"We wanted to saddle them up and see what he had," Hamlin said. "And we came through at the end."

Mark Martin, driving a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, finished second, and Edwards was third.

After some power celebration doughnuts for the packed frontside grandstand, Hamlin, a Virginia native, grabbed a Virginia Tech flag that he waved out his window in memory of the shooting that claimed 32 victims and the gunman.

The most high-profile caution involved former Nextel Cup champion Matt Kenseth, who hit the wall in turn one and was clipped by Brad Keselowski as he slid down the track. Neither driver was hurt.

A short time later, David Gilliland bounced off the wall and into Shane Huffman, who drives for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports team. Huffman's front wheels lifted off the ground from the collision.

Bobby Labonte brought out the final caution, spinning near the start-finish line on lap 137. When it took longer than expected to tow Labonte's car off the track, officials red-flagged the race for 3 1/2 minutes.

Hamlin showed his Chevy's strength from the start. He led the first 16 laps then, after falling behind Kenseth on lap 17, retook the top spot six laps later.

Hamlin held the lead twice more before moving in front for good when he swept past Jason Leffler on lap 96.

Hamlin had to outrace his rivals through four more restarts to get the victory.

The race featured longtime Roush Fenway Racing star Martin driving for former rival team owner Rick Hendrick. Martin, who holds the Busch record with eight Darlington victories, was racing in just his third Busch event this year.
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