NASCAR's Denny Hamlin, IndyCar's Will Power winners on busy Monday of racing
For motor racing fans lucky enough to be off work, Monday was a day to keep a firm grip on the remote control.
Owing to a wave of bad weather in the South on Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Martinsville, Va., and the Izod IndyCar Series event in St. Petersburg, Fla., were postponed until Monday, when they were broadcast live on television. So were the final rounds of drag racing at the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals near Charlotte, N.C.
Virginian Denny Hamlin won at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in a wild two-lap overtime finish in the NASCAR Cup race. Seven-time Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon had led the field on the final restart but was shuffled out of the lead as Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano all bumped and banged into each other trying for the win.
Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, who won three of the first five Cup races this season, finished ninth.
In Florida, Australia’s Will Power of Team Penske made it two wins in the first two races this season with a victory from the pole position on the streets of St. Petersburg, which followed his win at the season opener in Sao Paulo, Brazil, two weeks ago.
Penkse, in fact, had three of the four top cars, with Ryan Briscoe finishing third and Helio Castroneves fourth. Justin Wilson of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing was second. Danica Patrick of the Andretti Autosport team finished seventh after starting 21st.
The IndyCar series arrives in Southern California on April 18 for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
At the unique four-wide drag races at zMAZ Dragway in Concord, N.C., 14-time champion John Force beat his daughter Ashey Force Hood and two other drivers to win the funny car event. And Cory McClenathan nipped Doug Kalitta by inches to win the top-fuel race.
And for those fans who needed one more fix Monday, Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix won by McLaren’s Jenson Button on Sunday was reaired on Speed TV.
-- Jim PeltzPhoto: Driver Will Power leads the field on his way to winning the Izod IndyCar Series race in St. Petersburg, Fla. Credit: Chris O'Meara / Associated Press