Hamlin bounces back in Chase with New Hampshire win
September 23, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Loudon, NH (Sports Network) - Denny Hamlin rebounded in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by winning Sunday's Sylvania 300 with a dominating performance at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Hamlin, who started the Chase in the first seed, vowed to win at New Hampshire after his disappointing finish last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver ran out of fuel on the final lap and ended up finishing 16th in the Chase-opener, putting him 15 points out of the lead.
He backed up his words after leading 193 of 300 laps and crossing the finish line 2.7 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Jimmie Johnson, to claim his Sprint Cup Series-leading fifth win of the season.
"It doesn't hurt to have a little confidence in your team," Hamlin said. "I know we've made a couple of big mistakes over the last two weeks. I said we were fast enough to make it up, and we were. This is my team, and I'm excited about everything. These are lightning-fast race cars these guys are giving me."
Hamlin started 32nd but quickly made his way to the front and passed teammate Kyle Busch for the lead on lap 94. He held a six-second advantage over Johnson just before the fourth and final caution came with 28 laps remaining.
"Our car was extremely strong, and I have a really good knack for this racetrack," Hamlin said. "The two of those together, along with a crew chief like Darian (Grubb), it's a winning combination."