Hamlin Set for Championship 4 Brown and Tuerck Return to Victory Lane
Hamlin Set for Championship 4, Brown and Tuerck Return to Victory Lane
Denny Hamlin has qualified for the Championship 4 for the second consecutive season, while Antron Brown and Ryan Tuerck drove to their first victories of the season.
Denny Hamlin earned a Championship 4 berth for the second consecutive season after two solid stages and an 11th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Kyle Busch led Toyota with a ninth-place finish in a race won by Chase Elliott.
“I think we were in most of the time,” said Hamlin. “Just lost the handling there as soon as it went night. We were not very good. A lot of that too, I got up into sixth or seventh and some guys teammates were kind of rubbing up against you and it’s like, ‘yeah, I don’t want to cut a tire,’ so I backed out of that. Then we just fell to a spot that was a little more open. Proud of this whole FedEx Shipathon Toyota team.”Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr. was in position to win his way to the Championship 4 after leading over 100 laps. However, a late-race green flag pit stop ended his chances at victory.
On Saturday, Harrison Burton was impressive yet again as the 20-year-old driver led the most laps (81) and drove to his second consecutive win and fourth of his career. With the victory, Burton has clinched the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year honors.
“It was a really fun race,” said Burton. “Martinsville is one of those places that’s really cool to win at. For me in particular because my family is from here. There’s a guy in a hot dog for Halloween. The fans here are awesome. It’s amazing to win here at what is one of my home tracks I would say and do what my dad did. I think it was his first Xfinity win was here.”Harrison Burton
“We aren’t 100% sure what happened, but it was definitely blowing up on us,” said Hill. “The first stage, I thought we had a tire going down maybe. We lost some track position and then got back to the lucky dog and then as soon as I got to the lucky dog, we started blowing up. It started cutting in and out, so I guess it’s those really great built Ilmor engines. They like to breathe fire. It’s just frustrating to potentially end your season on an engine failure like that. Everybody at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), all of our partners, everyone that makes this deal happen deserves a lot better. We should definitely be in this final four. It’s frustrating. I can’t even put it in to words what I’m feeling right now.”Austin Hill
“This was medicine today,” said Brown. “We’ve been so close at a lot of races, but just in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Sometimes, you’ve got to have a little luck on your side. We just stayed poised. It really started about three races ago and it paid dividends this weekend. We’re just going to keep our heads down, work harder and smarter this off-season. We’re going to be that much farther ahead next year. We’re going to pick up where we left off this year. Winning here is a great motivator for the guys. It shows all the guys that we have all the parts and pieces here at Don Schumacher Racing. We have all the TRD Toyota backing and all the engineering. We’ve been down for so long and kicked all over the place that this is a really good positive motivation for the team to see that the work they’ve been doing will pay off and has paid off. Now we need to keep on going and we’re going to be looking really good this off-season.”Antron Brown
"It's an amazing feeling to take the win for Toyota and Gumout here in their home state," said Tuerck. "I have to give it to the team. They made some amazing setup decisions which kept my head on straight and pushing forward on the track."Ryan Tuerck
In the second race of the double header, Tuerck and his teammate, Fredric Aasbo, led Toyota with Final 8 appearances. The race was won by Chris Forsberg.
Tuerck is second in the standings, just eight points behind the leader going into the final doubleheader of the season at the House of Drift – Irwindale Speedway – in three weeks.