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Wreck combined with Stewart’s win equaled worst case scenario for Hamlin

By admin | June 3, 2013


By Richard Allen

Things started off great for Denny Hamlin this past weekend at the Dover International Speedway. The driver who just recently came back from a serious injury earned the pole position for the FedEx 400 and bolted to the early lead on the high banked oval. However, things did not end nearly so well for the Virginia native.

As has been well documented, Hamlin must win at least one race(possibly more) and get himself inside the top-20 of the Sprint Cup standings to be in position to receive one of two wildcard spots and make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Had he won on Sunday, he would have moved much closer to that ultimate goal.

Unfortunately for the driver and his Joe Gibbs Racing team, that is not what happened. Hamlin did lead 41 laps and ran inside the top-5 for much of the day. But on lap 378 of the 400 lap event, a right front tire gave way and sent his Toyota hard into the turn one wall. His day was done at that point and he was relegated to a 34th finishing position.

Hamlin is now 26th in the Sprint Cup standings, 74 points behind 20th place Ryan Newman. That is a lot of ground to be made up over 13 races.

And to make matters worse for Hamlin, the Dover race was won by another driver who will possibly have to rely on a wildcard invitation to make the ten-race playoff. Tony Stewart came into the event with his own set of struggles. He had not scored a single top-5 finish all season and was mired well back in the standings.

Stewart earning a win now means that a driver ranked ahead of Hamlin in the standings has a leg up on one of those wildcards. Should another driver who sits somewhere between 11th and 20th in the standings get a win in the near future, Hamlin’s chances of making the Chase would be in serious jeopardy. And there are plenty of drivers(Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex) who are capable of winning.

For Denny Hamlin to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he is going to need a nearly flawless next 13 races. Fortunately for him, the series is about to head for one of his better tracks in Pocono. But no matter where the races take place, he cannot afford any more of these worst case scenarios.

Will Denny Hamlin make the Chase for the Sprint Cup? Vote here—–>


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5 Responses to “Wreck combined with Stewart’s win equaled worst case scenario for Hamlin”

  1. Sue Rarick Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    In a way it really doesn’t matter. He drives for Gibbs and Gibbs uses Toyota engines. At the rate they are blowing up it’s fair to say that each driver will have at least one engine failure during the chase. It would be all but impossible to win the chase when right out of the box your giving away the large amount of points that usually goes along with an engine failure.

    Then you add to that the normal bad race and No Gibbs driver will win this year.

  2. Tony Geinzer Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I find Hamlin should stay off the Road Courses. I don’t like playing the Will Power Card, but, it is truth.

  3. Offkilter Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Its a moot point until the 11 team wins. After that, a half dozen teams in front of the 11 need to finish at the rear a few times before the cutoff while the 11 gets top fives. The math is possible, but not probable. Imo, It’s a non-story unless you are a Denny Hamlin fan. I compare all this talk about Denny Hamlin making the chase to a race announcer trying to breath life into the end of a race when the leader has a 2 second lead with 10 laps left ” but the 2nd place car is running him down!!! He’s a tenth a lap quicker!!!”

  4. RacingFan Says:
    June 3rd, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    We got a glimpse into Hamlin’s driving style a few weeks ago when Mark Martin subbed for him. Martin was very slow in Hamlin’s car, because the car was set up for Hamlin. Martin used an entirely different style than Hamlin. Martin was hard on the gas pedal and brake pedal, and Hamlin was more gentle and smooth.
    Since Hamlin is a very consistent and steady driver, and since he was pushing hard to try to qualify for the Chase, maybe that constant, steady driving at the edge lead to him wearing out the tire that caused the crash.
    Tony seems to have the ability to take a slow car and beat anyone on the track when he needs to. He did the same thing in the Chase 2 seasons ago.

  5. kb Says:
    June 4th, 2013 at 1:18 am

    So sorry Tony Stewart won..a nasty guy with some serious misguided anger issues, not to mention the hypocritical everything that comes out of his unbalanced nasty mouth. I also wish people would stop talking about :The Chase:..Tony up until yesterday people were writing him off (I am still am) and people were still had this insane notion of the other nasty one Miss Hamlin going for that Hail Mary in the sky…come on people…The Chase is bull, I say let em’ race till Homestead. Dennis, go spend time with your kid.