Langley Speedway was the short track in which Denny Hamlin got his start on his way up to stardom. After a few years of planning and organization to get the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown running once again at his track of choice, 200 laps after the green flag flew on Thursday night he was the one doing donuts and an extensive burnout for the impressive assembly of fans in attendance.

 

Hamlin displayed that he had the car to beat over the distance, but had to muscle his way past multiple-time track champion C.E. Falk III in the closing stages to take the checkered flag first.

 

“I’m glad my name was on the race, otherwise it could have got a little dirty out there at the end,” Hamlin humorously remarked.  “So fun to have a car that drove this good.  I’ve got to thank everyone with the whole Nelson team for giving me such a great car.  David Triplett did an amazing job working on this car and getting it where it was a race winner.”

 

The event was separated into segments, in which teams could only take tires at the lap 75 break. Considering they had more than half of the race to run on the same set, Hamlin and fellow competitors, including NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series teammate Kyle Busch, had to take things easy in the middle stages.

 

“Once we got to about a five car length lead I was just trying to back off and save the tires, but it looked like Kyle would back off just as much as I would,” Hamlin commented. “It was a big cat and mouse to try and save tires, and obviously we had the best tires at the end.”

 

Busch fell back early on in the final 50 lap dash, but maneuvered his way back to the rear of Hamlin and a second finishing position.  In the end it was a one-two-three finish for the Nelson Autosport team, with most recent DHSTS winner Timothy Peters rounding out the podium.

 

Falk looked to have a realistic shot and wrestled the lead from Hamlin and Busch with less than 50 laps remaining.  Unfortunately, he would fade to fourth after the eventual winner cleared him.

 

“We just ran the right front off,” Falk, who was satisfied with his conservative handling in the middle stages as well, admitted.  “It’s something we’ve been working on and I thought I was really close.  I got the lead there and thought for sure I’d get clean air and it would be game over, but the right front just kept getting hurt.”

 

Despite coming up short, it was a personal victory for the 30-year-old driver.

 

“I’m not a full time Late Model guy anymore,” Falk said.  “My brother comes and helps me and my wife brings dinner and we did all we could. It feels good.”

 

Although there was a good bit of torn up equipment, Hamlin was grateful for the effort from all of the weekend warriors and the exposure an event like this gives to short track racing. In addition, he hinted in victory lane to the fans that they will see him again in Hampton, Virginia for next year’s event.

 

“I can’t thank all the competitors enough for preparing their race cars,” Hamlin noted.  “I know they’ve got shows that they probably have to run this week, but can’t say enough for all the teams and all the sacrifices that the wives and girlfriends and husbands make for these guys to come out here and make this happen.”

 

-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @aaron_creed

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

 

Pos          Str            #                Driver    Laps

1               2               11            Denny Hamlin    200

2               3               51            Kyle Busch            200

3               4               12P         Timothy Peters  200

4               6               02            CE Falk   200

5               7               26S          Peyton Sellers     200

6               12            2S             Myatt Snider       200

7               30            91            Justin S. Carroll200

8               18            6               Ruben Garcia Jr.                  200

9               9               77            Connor Hall         200

10            8               12S          Nick Smith            199

11            25            22            Grayson Cullather              199

12            5               18            Ty Gibbs                 199

13            16            03            Brenden Queen  199

14            11            01            Philip Morris       199

15            23            92            Casey Wyatt         197

16            29            24G         Colin Garrett       197

17            27            57J          Eddie Johnson    196

18            19            24D         Mason Diaz           196

19            24            55            Mark Wertz          190

20            32            00            Christopher Johnson       183

21            26            4               Chase Cabre         154

22            10            57C         Justin T. Carroll153

23            17            88            Doug Barnes        153

24            13            8               Tyler Hughes        151

25            1               26E          Danny Edwards  151

26            20            98            Nicholas Sanchez                151

27            14            83            Matt Bowling      138

28            33            94            Cody Carlton       50

29            15            2V            Ryan Vargas          35

30            21            16M        Brett Moffitt        35

31            31            16J          Bubba Johnston                  35

32            28            90            Terry Carroll        29

33            22            41            Woody Howard28

Hamlin Returns Home to Langley for DHSTS Victory