Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hamlin Names It and Claims It at Martinsville

Denny Hamlin celebrates his
victory at Martinsville.
Earlier in the week, Denny Hamlin said he'd be the guy to beat at Martinsville and that points leader Jimmie Johnson had better be worried.

He was right on both counts.

With Hamlin's prophetic win today at Martinsville (his third straight at the track) he chopped Johnson's points lead to six - a virtual tie.

The No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota didn't dominate the paper clip.  In fact, at the beginning, it looked like Hamlin had been shot backwards out of a cannon.

But the driver's surprising patience throughout the 500 laps coupled with a crack pit stop by the No. 11 crew, put him in good stead to bring home the "W".

"We did not have a race-winning car until the very end," Hamlin said. "My pit crew got me from sixth to third before the last restart and that was the key."

Hamlin's victory means the upcoming contest at Talladega could be a more strategic barn burner than usual.

With just a smattering of points separating Johnson and Hamlin - and third place Kevin Harvick trailing by a mere 62 - the boys will be forced  to race each other for position.

And that, my friend, will a wild race make.

Wonder if Hamlin cares to make another prediction?

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