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NASCAR Martinsville Update: Denny Hamlin Leads Martinsville Wreckfest Just After Halfway

Denny Hamlin leads the Goody's Fast Relief 500 just past the halfway point of what has been a typical Martinsville race. He overtook Clint Bowyer at lap 260 to move out front after leading 32 laps early. Dale Earnhardt Jr. runs third, followed by Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, and pole sitter Jamie McMurray.

Jeff Gordon, the all-time active winner at Martinsville with seven victories, took the lead from Bowyer, who led at halfway, just past halfway but was quickly drop-kicked outside the top five.

The race has been slowed by eight cautions so far, mostly due to right-front tire failures, but there have been four wrecks resulting from car-to-car contact. Michael McDowell dumped Marcos Ambrose at lap 124. Martin Truex Jr. suffered a stuck throttle and collected Kasey Kahne before slamming the turn three wall with incredible force. Truex and Kahne were uninjured, but both of their Toyotas are headed for the scrap heap. Truex's impact with the wall did damage to the SAFER barrier, necessitating a 25-minute red flag period.

Just after the restart from that accident, Kurt Busch and Brian Vickers tangled and when it was over, Bobby Labonte's Toyota had slammed the wall in nearly the same spot Truex hit. Labonte started 7th and ran in the top-15 the entire race before his crash. After that crash, Busch's teammate Brad Keselowski ran into Paul Menard, spinning the No. 27 car and collecting McDowell and Casey Mears.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.