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Oct 18, 2012 - 05:48 PM
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Hamlin Wins, Johnson Extends Point Lead In Quest Of Fourth Title
Posted by: newsla on Oct 18, 2012 - 05:36 PM
Hamlin Wins, Johnson Extends Point Lead In Quest Of Fourth Title

The date was Oct. 25, 2009.

Denny Hamlin dominated the final 138 laps and won the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but that wasn’t enough to keep Jimmie Johnson from closing in on a fourth consecutive Sprint Cup championship. Johnson finished second.


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Johnson was the dominate motorsports story throughout the season. The California native was seeking a fourth consecutive Sprint Cup championship that would surpass Cale Yarborough’s three consecutive titles in 1976, ’77 and ’78. Entering the race, Johnson had won four of the last six Sprint Cup races at the .526-mile track.
“I’m sure on the websites there will be 12 stories about Jimmie and then mine will be ‘Denny Hamlin Wins at Martinsville For The Second Time’ in that little column,” Hamlin joked during post-race interviews.

Johnson was seemingly happy to be in the point lead but there were still plenty of questions to be answered with four races remaining on the 2009 schedule.

“It’s the same stuff over and over again,” Johnson said after widening his point lead to 118 points over Mark Martin. “I know it gives everybody something to talk about, but I’m tired of talking about all the what-ifs.”

Hamlin led a total of 206 laps and had a dominant car throughout the race which was extended by a lap caution for a green-white-checkered finish.

“It’s a good bounce back,” Hamlin said. “We just had the best car at the end. He (Johnson) didn’t do anything that he shouldn’t have and made sure he protected his points lead and gave us a little bit of respect as well.”
Johnson said the final laps of the race were a bit nerve-wracking and made him nervous that someone would get into his blue and silver No. 48 Chevrolet.

“I was nervous with those restarts at the end,” Johnson said. “I hoped that I might have a chance to get by Denny, but at the same time being stuck in that outside lane there was so much to lose, I was really nervous about just getting to the bottom and protecting the position I was in.”

Johnson went on to win his fourth title. Hamlin entered the race 11th in the Chase standings. The win vaulted him to ninth. His fourth win of the season at Homestead-Miami along with two other top-three finishes in the final four races left Hamlin fifth in the final point standings.

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