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Sport:Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin salvage top 10s after pit road penalties

Hamlin on Martinsville: 'There are no secrets anymore'

Hamlin on Martinsville: 'There are no secrets anymore' Martinsville Speedway is always a welcome site for Virginia native Denny Hamlin. The pride of Chesterfield has racked up five race victories in 26 career starts at the .526-mile short track, landing him ninth on the all-time Martinsville wins list and second among active drivers behind Jimmie Johnson’s nine triumphs. His 9.8 average finish makes it his third-best track, right behind Darlington Raceway and another Virginia short track, Richmond Raceway. “I look forward to going to Martinsville every time,” Hamlin said. “Obviously, it‘s one of my best tracks.

Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin salvage top 10s after pit road penalties© Getty Images

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Clint Bowyer places at least some of the blame on his two pit road speeding penalties Sunday at Martinsville Speedway with what happened Saturday at the half-mile short track.

Bowyer, who placed seventh in a failed attempt to defend his STP 500 win, would like better pit road conditions to work with.

“It’s so hard to practice pit road speed,” a dispirited Bowyer said on pit road after his second top 10 of the season. “You’ve got (Gander Outdoors) Trucks on pit road when we’re trying to practice that. I’m not making any excuses. When you’re trying to pinch it for every little thing out of it. It’s hard this week to practice pit road speed because of all the stuff on pit road.”

Clint Bowyer leads SHR trio in opening Martinsville practice

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After he placed sixth in Stage 1 and eighth in Stage 2, Bowyer’s No. 14 was caught speeding the first time on Lap 314 after he pitted from third place. Bowyer was able to make it up to 13th in the next 60 laps.

But on his next trip to pit road, Bowyer was again dinged for speeding.

“I guess we need to get our stuff together on being on the same page with that pit road stuff,” Bowyer said. “That’s such an important thing, such a big part of this style of racing where track position is everything. We push it to the limit.”

Before he pitted for a final time with just under 55 laps to go, Bowyer was told by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz they had figured out he wasn’t running close enough to the pit wall in the section the penalties occurred.

Joey Logano tops Almirola for Martinsville pole

Joey Logano tops Almirola for Martinsville pole Joey Logano saved his tires and the reward was the pole for Sunday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Logano was only sixth-fastest in Round 2 but only ran one lap, giving him more fresh rubber in the final five-minute round than most of his competitors. He went out late in the session, ran four laps, and picked up the pole for Sunday’s STP 500 with an average lap speed of 97.830 mph.

Bowyer didn’t speed and restarted eighth.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver claimed his first top 10 since he placed fifth at Atlanta.

“I don’t think anybody had anything for (race winner Brad Keselowski),” Bowyer said. “But I think we were a top-three car for sure. We just kept beating ourselves.”

Bowyer wasn’t the only driver to salvage a decent finish after a pit road penalty.

After an uncontrolled tire penalty on Lap 265, Denny Hamlin roared back to finish fifth. He’s finished fifth in two of the last three races.

“We lost a lot of spots on pit road even before that, and then just went to the back like we do most races and came back to fifth,” said Hamlin. “When you don’t have the best car, you have to pretty much execute perfectly. We didn’t, but it wouldn’t have mattered because the best car didn’t falter.”

Hamlin had stage finishes of fourth and third before the pit penalty occurred

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The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has two consecutive top fives at Martinsville and 14 in his 27 career starts.

“We kind of got back to where we kind of belonged, and that was the end of it,” Hamlin said. “We have to get a little better with the handling to handle right where (Keselowski is) at.”

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Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin salvage top 10s after pit road penalties
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