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Darlington Darlings: All of Team Interstate in Top 10

May 14th, 2012 by
Kyle Busch (18), Jimmie Johnson (48) and Denny Hamlin (11) prepare for a late-race restart at Darlington.

Kyle Busch (18), Jimmie Johnson (48) and Denny Hamlin (11) prepare for a late-race restart at Darlington. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry, led Team Interstate by finishing second in the 63rd Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. It was Hamlin’s sixth top-10 finish in seven career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.366-mile oval.

Hamlin’s Team Interstate companions – Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry, and Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry – finished fourth and 10th, respectively.

“We were just so loose at the end of the race,” Busch said. “It’s really hard to hustle the car and be loose here, and it seems like old Darlington’s back. Tonight was definitely a lot more slipping and sliding, a lot more slowing down using brakes and using tires.

“It was good to keep it up front like that and have another strong run. I think that’s our third top-five in a row, so we’ll try to keep that momentum rolling for us and keep it ongoing and try to go get us an All-Star win next week.”

The last time all three Team Interstate drivers finished in the top-10 was in March at Phoenix International Raceway when Hamlin won, Busch was sixth and Logano was 10th.

Jimmie Johnson won the Southern 500, marking the 56th Sprint Cup victory of his career and his third at Darlington. It also brought Hendrick Motorsports its milestone 200th Sprint Cup win.

Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough and Denny Hamlin are responsible for 103 of the No. 11 car's 199 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins.

Darrell Waltrip (left), Cale Yarborough and Denny Hamlin are responsible for 103 of the No. 11 car's 199 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Hamlin Runs Retro Scheme

NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough autographs Denny Hamlin's firesuit before the Southern 500.

NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough autographs Denny Hamlin's firesuit before the Southern 500. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Hamlin’s No. 11 Sport Clips/FedEx Toyota featured a very different scheme at Darlington in homage to one of NASCAR’s legendary figures.

The car was red and white with numbers that resembled those used by Cale Yarborough, who drove the No. 11 to 41 victories from 1975 to 1980. Yarborough autographed Hamlin’s firesuit before the race.

Hamlin is chasing win No. 200 for the 11 car, the all-time winningest number in NASCAR history. Fox commentator Darrell Waltrip is responsible for 43 of those wins between 1981 and 1986, and Hamlin has 19 wins in the car since 2006.

Logano Wins Darlington Nationwide Race

Joey Logano scored his third Nationwide Series win of 2012 Friday night at Darlington.

Joey Logano scored his third Nationwide Series win of 2012 Friday night at Darlington. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Logano captured the win in Friday night’s VFW SportClips Help a Hero 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington. It was his third win of the season. Hamlin dominated for much of the race but settled for second place. Brian Scott capped off a great night for Team Interstate by finishing 7th.

JGRMX Welcomes Kyle Regal

Another Kyle joins Team Interstate for the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship season. Kyle Regal, 21, becomes the newest member of the JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha Team, riding the No. 36 Yamaha YZ450F.

Regal will pair up with Davi Millsaps, who finished second in the point standings for the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season.

“We are coming off a great supercross season with Davi Millsaps, and both Davi and Kyle are turning some very fast laps at our test track. We are excited about the upcoming outdoor national season,” said team manager Jeremy Albrecht.

Said Regal: “I am excited about this opportunity; the bike is awesome and the team has been great getting me comfortable with the set-up. I am looking forward to Hangtown and the 2012 outdoor season.”

The new season starts May 19.

Next Week: Bring home the win or bring home the steering wheel. NASCAR’s top names compete in the annual Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Although it’s not for points, the race winner will take home $1 million. NHRA drag racing returns with the Dollar General Summernationals in Topeka, Kan., and AMA Motocross begins the outdoor season in Sacramento, Calif.

By James Pecht (177 Posts)

James Pecht writes about franchising, battery technology, tips, racing and company culture for Interstate Batteries.


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