On NASCAR’s oldest and shortest track, Denny Hamlin earned his 25th career victory and snapped a 32-race winless streak for Toyota.
Hamlin passed teammate Matt Kenseth with 28 laps to go and used some impressive defensive maneuvers to keep Brad Keselowski and the rest of the field behind him. With a new Series format in place for The Chase the victory at Martinsville almost assures Hamlin a spot in the championship.
“We just weren’t going to be denied today, and hats off to Brad,” he said, thanking Keselowski for not wrecking him.
The final five laps of the race featured a furious, but fair finish to the checkered flag.
“I did everything I could other than wreck him,” Keselowski said.
— Goodyear Racing (@GoodyearRacing) March 30, 2015
Pole-sitter Joey Logano led 109 laps but finished in third while Kenseth and David Ragan rounded out the top five, giving Joe Gibbs Racing three of the first five finishers.
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The second place finish from the No. 2 car almost snapped the eight race streak of landing in the top-two for defending Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. Harvick led the most laps of any driver with 154, but was cauhgt up high on a late restart and never recovered finishing eighth.
Appearing in his final race at Martinsville and trying to win it for a ninth time, Jeff Gordon was penalized for entering pit row too fast with about 40 laps to go and could only muster an eleventh-place finish.
Chase Elliott, who will be taking over for Gordon next season, made his Sprint Series debut but left early after sustaining significant damage and finished 38th.
Danica Patrick finished seventh, her fifth career top-ten finish.
The next Sprint Cup Series race takes place on April 11 from Texas Motor Speedway.