|Hamlin makes it 2 wins in 2 nights at Richmond|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 29 April 2011 16:06|
Hamlin grabbed the lead for the first time 44 laps into the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night and dominated the rest of the 250-lap race.
He lost the lead briefly when he pitted under a green flag, again when Aric Almirola got underneath him after the first restart and then grabbed it back six laps later for good.
The victory is the 11th of Hamlin's career in the Nationwide Series and came one night after he passed Kyle Busch on the last lap to win his charity race at the track.
Unlike that race, in which Hamlin needed all 75 laps to rally from starting at the back of the field, he was 11th on the starting grid and enjoyed huge leads most of the night.
He led 199 of the 251 laps and made it look too easy every time he had the chance.
When Kelly Bires' spun into the Turn 4 wall for the first caution on lap 124, Hamlin was leading by 8 seconds. And when he opened a lead of nearly 6 seconds over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with under 30 laps to go, Hamlin was able to try to save fuel to make it to the checkered flag.
Stenhouse, however, brought out the second caution when he ran out of gas himself on lap 243, and when Almirola also ran out of gas behind him, Hamlin opted to pit to be safe.
On the restart on lap 250, he had Paul Menard behind him, followed by points leader Justin Allgaier. Hamlin easily outran Menard on the first lap under green and was already cruising when a crash in the fourth turn brought out another caution, clinching Hamlin's victory.
It the Chesterfield native's second at the track 15 miles from his hometown.
Menard was second, followed by Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Brad Keselowski. The five were the only cars still on the lead lap at the finish, in part because Almirola, who crossed the finish line fifth, was penalized for speeding on pit road and dropped to 14th overall.
Stenhouse, who shared the points lead with Allgaier coming into the race, wound up 21st.