LOUDON, N.H. (WWLP) - Denny Hamlin turned a 16th row starting spot into a dominant drive to a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series chase race victory Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Hamlin and his team made a big time rebound from his fuel fizzle finish at Chicagoland in the 1st race of the chase, which was won by Brad Keselowski. This was Hamlin's 5th win of the season. Denny is 3rd in the chase standings, 7 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson, and 6 markers behind 2nd place Keselowski. This could turn into the chase of redemption for Hamlin's crew chief, Darian Grubb. Grubb joined Joe Gibbs Racing after he was released by Stewart-Haas Racing where he quarterbacked Tony Stewart to 5 wins in the chase and Stewart's 3rd championship last season. Hamlin had the traditional Magic Mile king-sized lobster waiting for him in Loudon Victory Lane, but he passed on the opportunity to hold the massive sea creature.
A couple of childhood friends from North Haverhill, New Hampshire ended up making some NHMS history in Sunday's Sprint Cup race. Car owner/crew chief Frankie Stoddard had two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Mike Olsen drive his #32 Ford in the Sylvania 300. The pair became the 1st New Hampshire born driver-crew chief combo to start a Sprint Cup race at the Magic Mile. The 44 year old Olsen last raced a few years back at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. Olsen told 22News he was honored that Stoddard gave him the opportunity to drive the car. While he was able to "knock some rust off" in the 1st couple of cup practices, there is still a difference between a K&N car and a cup car. Olsen told 22News he was working with the transition and explained it this way, "I guess because I haven't driven anything in a while it's not a huge thing to me. It's not real noticeable I guess."
The likeable Olsen started 42nd in the 43 car field, qualifying on owner points. He finished in 33rd, running at the checkers, but 12 laps down. For Stoddard & Olsen it's one and done, however Mike told 22News how much this meant, "I've done more than I ever thought I would racing, so this is just icing on the cake."