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Trucks: Hamlin barges into Martinsville win

Denny Hamlin doesn't make many starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but this one was worth the effort after a hard race saw him end the afternoon in victory lane.
Cup regular Denny Hamlin has only made 15 starts in the Camping World Truck Series over the years, but on Saturday afternoon he claimed his second series race win with victory in the Kroger 200 event at Martinsville Speedway, a hard-fought race which ended with more than one lingering grudge.

Hamlin had started the race from the back of the grid as a result of missing the drivers' meeting while attending to his Cup duties, while Timothy Peters had started from pole position alongside Kevin Harvick, and duly led for the first 58 laps.

That included two of the seven caution periods of the afternoon: the first was on lap 19 for Todd Bodine in turn 2, and the second came on lap 29 shortly after the restart when Jeff Agnew spun in turn 1 and caught out David Starr in the process. In both cases the cars involved sustained little damage and were able to continue.

Peters' run at the front came to an end when Harvick finally decided to take charge of proceedings for the first time on lap 59, and the #2 would quickly prove itself to be the dominant car of the race as it went on to lead a total of 101 of the 200 laps in three blocks separated out by single lap interlopers during pit stops cycles under yellow flag conditions.

The first of these was for an accident involving Tim George Jr. in turn 4 on lap 93, but the next caution on lap 151 had more serious consequences for the Truck Series championship when points leader Ty Dillon blew a tyre in turn 2 and hit the wall. Dillon fell six laps off the lead while getting the car patched up, and as a result ended up finishing in 28th place - a major hit in the Truck title battle.

Harvick led the field to the green flag for the restart on lap 160, but he was no match for Matt Crafton at the restart, with Denny Hamlin following him through into second place ahead of Joey Coulter, Nelson Piquet Jr. and James Buescher, who had battled back after going a lap down in the early stages of the race.

Crafton retained the lead through three more caution periods: a turn 1 accident for Jason White and Clay Greenfield on lap 164; a spin by Peyton Sellers at the same spot on lap 175; and a final turn 1 incident, this time for Miguel Paludo, on lap 187 which set up a final restart of the day with seven laps remaining to the chequered flag.

That gave Hamlin his best shot of the race at taking the lead from Crafton, and he did it old style - by bulldozing him to one side, a move that Crafton did not take kindly to.

"Running in the back of somebody, that doesn't take anything. Anybody can do that," he complained after the race when he sought out Hamlin for an animated discussion on the incident. "I told him that it took a lot of man to run in the back of somebody," he said. "Not even try to pass me. Didn't even run behind me for one lap to see what he could do. Just ran in the back of me -- that's all he did."



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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #51 Toyota Toyota, races past the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #51 Toyota Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #51 Toyota Toyota, passes Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Zecol/Menards Toyota, for the leads during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, soc during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies in second position Friday, February 27, 2015 for a front row position start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the yellow and chequered flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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