Short-Track Showdown to Stewart
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on April 26, 2012 | 9:50 P.M. EST
Stewart won the fifth annual event that benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation. (Photo: Getty Images)
Tony Stewart outran an all-star field of NASCAR and Late Model drivers to win the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond Int'l Raceway.
Stewart won the fifth annual event that benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation and scored his first asphalt Late Model victory in a dozen years.
“It’s been a while since I won in one of these cars but this was a lot of fun and I want to thank (team owner) Lee McCall for putting together this awesome race car," Stewart said. "We were a little bit free in the first segment and he made a really good adjustment and it really made this thing come to life in the second session.
“This is Denny’s home track and what better place to host this event. Denny puts his heart and soul into this event and whether it’s at Southside Speedway or Richmond he’s done a great job with it….it’s fun.”
Late Model star Greg Edwards was second with Brandon Butler, Jeff Burton and Joey Logano rounding out the top five.
“It was a blast racing with Joey and everyone,” said Edwards, who started the race from the pole. “It’s just fun, I want to thank Denny Hamlin for putting this on. This has to be one of the best race tracks to race on and we just enjoy being here.”
Burton was in the mix but got cut short of a run to the front on a pair of late restarts.
“When I went from second to third I missed a shift,” said Burton, who drove his own Late Model in the race. “Just got to do a little better job on the shifter, car owner didn’t do a very good job of providing equipment tonight but it was a fun night for a good cause. We had a fast car but unfortunately those late restarts hurt us.”
Logano stayed near the lead pack but couldn’t mount a charge to challenge for the lead and win.
“We just didn’t have enough speed in our Home Depot Toyota,” said Logano. “Tony was fast, 31 car, 33 car was fast – we were a fifth place car and we finished fifth.”
Ben Rhodes, Darrell Wallace Jr., former winner C.E. Falk, Jason White and Garrett Campbell completed the first ten finishers.
It wasn’t a good night for two former winners of the event including Hamlin, who got caught up in a multi-car accident on the very first lap. Hamlin was credited 34th in the 36-car field.
Kyle Busch was also saddled with problems and fought to get to the front of the field all night before brake problems finally sidelined him. He finished 30th.
Action continues at Richmond on Friday with Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying for Saturday night’s Capital City 400. Nationwide Series practice and qualifying is also on tap to set the field for Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250.