(photo by Leon Hammack)
With all the attention focused on the 50 year old, twice returned out of semi-retirement, Mark Martin, the #11 JGR FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin has quietly surged into a contenders role! Because the team scored a win at “the last race of the regular season”, Richmond, momentum has moved into their race shop! In the races leading up to The Chase For The Cup, Hamlin’s team has scored 4 top 10’s and 2 top 5’s. And did I mention that Hamlin finished second at Louden, and is tied with Jimmie Johnson for second place 35 points behind Mark Martin!
In order to be a contender all the way to the finale in Homestead, Hamlin must come out of Dover with a great finish. Going onto this weekend’s race, Hamlin has four consecutive finishes outside the top 35, including a last place finish in June 2008! According to NASCAR statistics, Hamlin has 7 Dover starts with an average finish of 22.1 and leading only 61 laps! Those statistics are not exactly sterling for this championship contending team. It is imperative that they overcome this tendency!
Still the entire #11 FedEx JGR Toyota team is extremely upbeat, especially Denny Hamlin. “We are really good and getting better and I think that sets up for a good run at Dover”, Hamlin reveals. It’s important that we have a good finish, but at Dover it’s important just to finish”, Hamlin adds.
Even though NASCAR has moved their celebration banquet from New York City to Las Vegas starting this year, if the #11 FedEx JGR Toyota team gets their wish it will be held at, you guessed it, DENNY’S!!
Do you think that this team has a viable shot at winning the championship? What do you think?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!