Hamlin has best pit crew

The Associated PressMay 20, 2010 

Denny Hamlin's No. 11 team continued a dominating season by winning the NASCAR's Pit Crew Challenge on Wednesday night.

The seven-member team changed four tires, put in gas and pushed the car 40 yards in 23.132 seconds to edge defending champion Jeff Burton's crew and collect $70,650.

Hamlin, which has won three of the last seven Sprint Cup races, will make the first pit-row selection for Saturday's All-Star Race.

His team beat Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew in the semifinals, ending Hendrick Motorsports' best showing in this event, while Burton's team routed Ryan Newman's crew.

Driver Kyle Busch's front tire changer Nick Odell and carrier Brad Donaghy headlined the individual awards timed in the opening rounds with an event-record 13.903 seconds.

Other winners, who collected $10,000 for each competition: rear tire changer Dustin Necaise and carrier Matt Kreuter (14.322 seconds) of Clint Bowyer's No. 33 team; Bolling of Hamlin's No. 11 (5.573 seconds); and gas man Brad Pickens and catch-can man Travis Gordon of Mark Martin's No. 5 car (10.518 seconds).

Mears to replace ailing Vickers: Casey Mears will fill in for Brian Vickers during Saturday's Sprint Cup All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Red Bull Racing says Mears will drive the No. 83 Toyota for Vickers, who is undergoing treatment for blood clots in his legs and near his lungs. Mears finished 22nd while subbing for Vickers last weekend at Dover.

NASCAR granted Red Bull's request to switch drivers for the race.

Red Bull said Tuesday that Vickers has responded well to treatment but has not issued a timetable for when the 26-year-old can return to racing.

Bowyer placed on probation: NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer has been placed on probation until June 16 for aggressive driving.

The penalty stems from a late-race incident between Bowyer and Denny Hamlin in last weekend's Nationwide race at Dover. Bowyer and Hamlin were battling for position during a late restart when Hamlin clipped Bowyer, forcing him to pit.

Hamlin called the bump "unintentional," but Bowyer raced out of the pits and slammed into Hamlin. Bowyer's No. 21 car was parked immediately by NASCAR officials, and he finished 24th.

Hamlin wound up 12th.

The probation covers all three of NASCAR's major series.

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