Hamlin tries to rally into Chase

Denny Hamlin
After a limited run at Talladega, Denny Hamlin is back racing full time.
Share This Story

Jeff Hammond

FOX race analyst Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Cup wins as a crew chief.


I realize the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is still relatively young.

Let’s face it: We’ve run only 11 out of 36 points events. While the teams pretty much have a baseline now, they all know there is still a lot to learn about this new Generation-6 car.

The team and manufacturer that definitely have reaped the benefit of the car at this point have to be Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. In the past, we’ve known JGR to be able to get one or two of its cars competitive and even win a championship.

Right now, though, the organization is a three-headed monster that none of the other teams want to face.

Now granted, Denny Hamlin took a step back with his injury. I maintain the strength that’s in that team and car, plus the passion of that driver, will still propel him and his team into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Just look at Denny’s performance on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway. He had missed a number of races, and then climbed back behind the wheel and brought his FedEx Toyota home in second place.


  • Will Denny Hamlin earn a spot in the Chase?
    • Yes, he's on his way
    • No, time's too short

That was amazing and a tribute to Denny’s determination.

If there is someone who wants to put money down on the table today and bet which organization with three teams or more will have all its cars in the Chase and be a legitimate contender for the title, then right now the safe money is on Joe Gibbs Racing.

Again, I say use Darlington as your example. Kyle Busch dominated that race. He led an absolutely amazing 265 laps of a 367-lap event. Unfortunately, a tire going down late in the race kept him from closing the deal. Guess who took over? It was Kyle’s teammate, Matt Kenseth, who won the event.

Even if Matt would have stumbled at the end, Denny was sitting there in second. Short of a tire going down on Busch's No. 18, there’s no doubt in my mind we were looking at a 1-2-3 finish from Joe Gibbs Racing.


The untameable track is bound to yield wild action. PHOTOS

So my point is that the team has depth, strength and consistency as an organization.

I think it shows the work that the other teams and drivers have to do. It also shows that Ford and Chevrolet have to get caught up to Toyota.

It just seems like Toyota has really got its act together when it comes to this new car. When it comes to tracks that are a mile or longer, Toyota looks to be the dominant manufacturer.

Tagged: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin

More Stories From Jeff Hammond

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal 26.95 Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal
    Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black 19.95 Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black 9.99 Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash 24.95 Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash