(photo by Leon Hammack)
He finally won a Cup race at his”home race track”, Richmond International Raceway! In spite of Denny Hamlin winning the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, he was only one part of the big story Saturday night in Richmond, VA. At the culmination of the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, the top 12 are set for this year’s “Chase for the Cup”! The contenders have a familiar ring for the most part, however, there are a few “newbies” in the class of 2009’s Chase for the Cup. ( More on those teams in another article later!)
The #11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was the class of the field at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night! Hamlin led 298 out of the 400 laps that make up the race distance. This isn’t the first time that Hamlin has dominated the race at Richmond, however it was the first time the #11 FedEx Toyota scored a victory there!
Throughout the 400 lap race there were subplots and story lines running and changing with every lap of the race. Who is in the Chase and who is out of the Chase at that particular juncture of the race was changing constantly!! It made for good drama for the race fans at the track, as well as those watching on TV. The most interesting subplot for this reporter was the race between Brain Vickers and TLVW (The Las Vegas Weasel/Kyle Busch). They have some history from back at Michigan a few weeks ago, remember the race to the checkered flag that they both lost to one Brian Keselowski?? Both Vickers and ol Kylie Busch were racing for the last spot , 12th position in the Chase. Since Kenseth was having a terrible race, and had basically fallen out of 12th, these two were racing to fill that spot! At the end of the race, it was Brian Vickers who raced his way into 12th spot beating ol Kylie by a mere 8 points!
THAT IS DRAMA! (And TNT thinks they know drama??)
In addition to scoring the victory at Richmond, Hamlin takes a big bag of momentum with him to the start of the Chase next week at Louden, NH. It is important to go into this Chase for the Cup, a ten race shootout, with momentum on your side. There was pressure throughout the first 26 races on the race teams to make the Chase, but now the pressure really mounts and we can really separate the contenders from the pretenders!
Now that the 12 Chase contenders are identified, the teams now must size up their opponents, dig deep for additional strength and performance. It is time to see just what you are made out of for the next ten weeks!
REMEMBER, IF YOU CAN’T RUN WITH THE BIG DOGS, STAY ON THE PORCH!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!