RICHMOND, Va. – Talk about a homecoming.
Hours after winning the pole for Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, Denny Hamlin flashed by Kevin Harvick with 12 laps remaining to win Friday night's Lipton Tea 250.
The win is the first at Richmond for the native of nearby Chesterfield, Va., any of NASCAR's top three series and sixth in his Nationwide Series career.
"Days like this are hard to come by," Hamlin said in Victory Lane. "This is my biggest accomplishment as a race car driver in my career, winning here at Richmond. We didn't have the best car all day, but we did when it counted."
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The win is the fifth consecutive in the series for Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, who have won seven of the series' 11 races this season.
Harvick, who did not stop for fresh tires late in the race when most of those on the lead-lap did, got one final shot at Hamlin on a restart on Lap 252 but couldn't get close.
While Hamlin claimed his hometown victory, another battle erupted behind him. Kyle Busch and Steven Wallace traded bumps on the track in the final laps. Then, when both pulled to a stop on pit road they got into a heated confrontation before being separated.
Fans at the track were treated to more entertainment as Busch and Wallace traded insults over the Motor Racing Network radio broadcast while the two stood only feet apart.
"Basically, he's a boy trying to play in a man's sport," Busch said of Wallace. "We're going to fight if it comes down to it. If that's the kind of game he wants to play, we'll play it."
eplied Wallace: "If you’re going to say stuff like that, why don't you come down and say it to my face."
Asked later in the media center if he and Wallace would talk about the incident later, Busch replied, "It's Rusty Wallace's kid, so I'm not sure you'd be able to talk to him much and get through his head."
Busch finished third, David Ragan fourth and Wallace fifth. Ragan and Wallace also traded paint late in the race and after Busch and Wallace ended their feud, Ragan went over to Wallace to voice his displeasure.