Hamlin Wins Charity Showdown
April 28, 2011 | 11:38 P.M. EST
Hamlin opted to start the race from the rear of the field. (Photo: Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin got by Kyle Busch on the final lap to win Thursday night's Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway.
Hamlin started last in the 36-car late model field and worked his way to the front getting past his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Busch on the backstretch, who appeared to run out of fuel.
It was the first win for Hamlin in his annual event.
The Chesterfield, Virginia native celebrated the victory in the fourth annual edition of his charity event that generated funds for the Denny Hamlin Foundation. After being held the first three years at nearby Southside Speedway the event was moved to the .75-mile speedway for the first time this season.
"Finally things went our way," said Hamlin referring to the frustrating start he's had in the Sprint Cup Series. "Everyone who helped us put this on, the foundation - this is all going to go to some great causes. This definitely foes a long way especially the way things have been going this season. I hope we can keep this going."
Hamlin had his sights set on having a good run before Thursday night's race in hopes of it helping him jump start his 2011.
"I consider this (charity) race as important as anything, because if I come out of here with a good finish, I've got great momentum going into tomorrow, and then hopefully it carries into Saturday," Hamlin said. "We've got to have a weekend with no flaws. We can't given up points to 10th place. We've got to start chipping away."
Michael Waltrip finished second in the scramble to the finish line with Chase Elliott finishing third.
Joey Logano and Frank Deiny Jr. completed the first five finishers.
Busch was credited with a sixth-place finish.
Six laps prior to Hamlin's pass for the win, the race saw a crash take out contenders Darrell Wallace Jr., who won the K&N Pro Series East race earlier in the night, and Max Gresham.
"I was going to give them a run for my money," Wallace Jr. said. "I drove it a little deep and got a bit sideways. I had it saved and then I just got tapped in the rear. Awesome night, I can't even get mad over this. We just won the East race not to long ago and I put my name in the books here."