From the Marbles - NASCAR

A two-hour rain delay could have sapped a lot of the energy from Denny Hamlin's charity race Thursday night at Richmond International Raceway. But a lap 1 (1!) wreck that took out a major chunk of the field, combined with all kinds of hijinks that ensue when you've got drivers of all levels mixing on the track, helped keep the race lively right through the end. And when all the smoke cleared, look who ended up with the win: Denny Hamlin himself.

The fourth version of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown had the most impressive venue of the series so far, since its usual home, the Southside Speedway, wasn't open for business.

The race featured probably the most fascinating top 5 in recent memory: Michael Waltrip, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and somebody named Frank Deiny Jr. Other players included everyone from Travis Pastrana to Darrell Wallace Jr., who actually took a shot at the lead late in the race before succumbing to Kyle Busch.

While Busch appeared headed for yet another win in yet another race format, Hamlin climbed from the back of the field to within sight of the lead. And when Kyle ran out of fuel, Hamlin happily scooted past for the win. Given these two drivers' nasty history in exhibition races, it's probably better that it ended that way.

"I'm glad he ran out of fuel because it might have got ugly," Hamlin said. "Trust me, if Kyle wouldn't have run out of gas, I would have done everything possible to get around him." Words to warm Joe Gibbs' heart, no doubt.

Charitable proceeds from the race will go to the Denny Hamlin Foundation, with 10 percent earmarked for aid to victims of this week's tornadoes in the Southeast.

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