RICHMOND, Va. -- Local favorite Denny Hamlin used a late pit stop for tires to foil the strategy of fellow NASCAR stars Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards, blowing by them to win the Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night.
Harvick and Edwards dominated the race all night, but when the final caution flew with 22 laps to go, Hamlin gave up his fourth-place position to head to pit road for tires. When everyone behind him followed, leaving Harvick, Edwards and No. 3 Mike Bliss as the only cars still out on the track, Hamlin emerged still running fourth and with brand new traction.
He didn't waste any time, blowing by Bliss and then Edwards on lap 241, the first after another restart, and then ducking underneath Harvick at the start-finish line on lap 242.
Hamlin quickly built a huge lead, but when another caution came out with three laps left, it allowed Kyle Busch to get right up on Hamlin's bumper for a two-lap dash to the finish. The resident of nearby Chesterfield again pulled away with ease for his first victory at the track 15 miles from his home.
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"It's unbelievable," Hamlin said after climbing from his Toyota in a storm of confetti at Victory Lane. "This is my biggest win, Cup, anything. It doesn't matter. This is my biggest win by far. It means a lot to finally break through in Richmond."
Earlier Friday, Hamlin won the pole for tonight's Sprint Cup Series race after his fastest lap at 126.198 mph gave him the pole. He'll have the Chevrolet of Mark Martin on the outside. ...
Edwards said he signed a multiple-year contract extension to continue driving the No. 99 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, taking NASCAR's most sought-after free agent off the market.
LSU sophomore quarterback Ryan Perrilloux was kicked off the defending national championship team after an LSU career marked by legal and disciplinary problems.
Indianapolis receiver Marvin Harrison was interviewed by police about a shooting near his North Philadelphia bar this week. Harrison has not been arrested or charged.
Proud Spell drew away in the stretch to win the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks by five lengths at Churchill Downs on Friday. In an earlier race, trainer Michael Matz watched another one of his colts break down, two years after Barbaro shattered his right hind leg in the Preakness. Chelokee, a 4-year-old colt, took a misstep on the sloppy track and fractured his right front leg, veterinarian Larry Bramladge said. He said later he was trying to re-establish the blood supply to the leg. Chelokee won the 2006 Barbaro Stakes -- a race renamed in honor of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who was euthanized eight months after his injury. ... Frank Whiteley Jr., the Hall of Famer who trained ill-fated racing filly Ruffian, died in Camden, S.C. He was 93.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins signed an 11-year contract with the school that will keep him at his alma mater until he's 65 and pay $1.5 million a year plus incentives.
Oscar De La Hoya takes on light-hitting Steve Forbes tonight at the Home Depot Center in Carson in what he says will be the first in a series of three fights that will mark the end of his career.
Track and Field
Former track star Tim Montgomery is scheduled to appear in federal court in Norfolk, Va., on Monday for a bond hearing on heroin distribution charges.