DARLINGTON, S.C. - Denny Hamlin made it a repeat performance at Darlington Raceway as he won the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 for the second consecutive season from the pole.
Hamlin, who led five times for 79 laps, held off Mark Martin by 1.335 seconds for his third career victory.
The win was bittersweet for Hamlin as it was his first victory since the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Hamlin paid tribute to the victims by carrying the school flag during his victory lap and also plans on donating the trophy to the school.
"This win meant a lot, especially for everyone at Virginia Tech," Hamlin said. "I have talked to a lot of students there who have thanked me for everything I've done. I just feel like I'm paying the respects that are due to everyone there. You know I just feel like I'm doing my duty as a fellow Virginian to try and help heal everyone there."
For Martin, the finish came in his first of three attempts in 2007 driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.
"I'm disappointed I didn't get the win for them," Martin said. They gave me the stuff, but I just didn't get it done for them. I'm very proud of the effort. I gave it everything I had."
Series point leader Carl Edwards first tried to get around Hamlin for the lead when the race went back to green after the final caution with six laps to go.
Edwards pulled to the inside of Hamlin and alongside, but was never able to get ahead.
That left him to battle with Martin, who went by Edwards to take the runner-up spot.
"My hat's off to Denny Hamlin and really off to Mark Martin," said Edwards, who leads the series standings by 433 points over Kevin Harvick. "I came over and told him after the race, I really took advantage of him a couple of times early in the race. That part he was talking about early in the race, we were just racing so hard. There were a couple of moves that Mark let me get by with and I just really appreciate that. There at the end it was neat to be able to race him and we ended up third."
Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five.
Jason Leffler, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Casey Mears and Kevin Harvick completed the first 10 finishers.
The race was slowed by a record ten caution flags for 48 laps.