Hamlin finishes second: Denny Hamlin erased a four-week slide with his second-place finish in Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin was coming off finishes of ninth, 18th, 21st and 28th since beginning the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup with a fourth-place finish at New Hampshire. "We had a second-place car," said Hamlin, who tried but couldn't overtake winner Jimmie Johnson in the final five laps. "We tried to seize the opportunity and steal the win from those guys, and it didn't work out for us. It was a great run for us." Hamlin, the only rookie in the Chase, picked up his second top-10 finish at Martinsville and his 16th top 10 of the year. He gained two spots in the standings and left Martinsville in fourth, 47 points behind first-place Matt Kenseth. "Martinsville can really be the one that will bite you," Hamlin said. "But luckily we were able to make the most of today and not lose any ground, in fact gain ground."
Schrader's 700th start ends early: Kenny Schrader's 700th career start ended with his seventh DNF of the season and second in a row. Schrader qualified 10th for Sunday's race, his best start of 2006, and ran as high as sixth before his day ended on Lap 331. Rookie David Ragan spun the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford coming into Turn 1. Schrader backed into the wall hard, and his day was over. Schrader picked up a piece of metal from his wrecked car and appeared to be ready to throw it as the field came back by. He restrained himself, however, and walked across the track and into his pits, where he threw the metal onto the ground and continued to the infield care center. "I moved him earlier," Schrader said of Ragan. "I moved him because you can't run like that two laps down. I got back around him, and he just paid me back for moving him, but he was two laps down."
Ward Burton 26th: After a nearly two-year absence, Ward Burton returned to Nextel Cup competition Sunday and finished 26th. Burton, an 11-year Cup veteran and former Daytona 500 champion, was spun by rookie David Gilliland on Lap 223 and lost a lap. Burton ran as high as 20th after starting 35th. "I had a ball." Burton said. "To come back and finish on the lead lap at Martinsville ... we'll take that."
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

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