for your iPhone
for your iPad
NASCAR

NASCAR Links

Scanner Frequencies

Meet the Staff

2014 Schedule

Hamlin takes NASCAR point lead with win in Texas

Sprint Cup Chase
Sunday, November 07, 2010

Advertisement

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin’s victory in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 wasn’t a knockout blow to Jimmie Johnson’s title hopes, but it did deliver a stinging message to the four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.

Hamlin’s win, his series-best eighth of the season, his second straight at Texas Motor Speedway and the 16th of his career, was perhaps more effective than the haymaker Jeff Gordon—yes, Jeff Gordon—tried to lay on Jeff Burton after Burton wrecked the No. 24 Chevrolet under caution on Lap 190.

And Hamlin’s victory certainly wasn’t as surprising as crew chief Chad Knaus’ dismissal of Johnson’s No. 48 over-the-wall crew after a series of blown pit stops. With Gordon’s No. 24 crew available, Knaus knocked his own crewmen out of the box; the last straw was slow work on the right front tire under caution on Lap 194.

Johnson minimized the damage with a ninth-place finish, but repeated loss of track position helped transform his 14-point lead over Hamlin entering the event into a 33-point deficit as the series heads to Phoenix with two races left.

In a three-lap sprint to the finish, after Patrick Carpentier spun in Turn 2 to cause the ninth caution of the race, Hamlin swapped the lead with Matt Kenseth and surged ahead for good when Kenseth ran out of room in Turn 2 on Lap 333 of 334 and had to back out of the gas.

Kenseth held second, matching his best finish of the season, with Mark Martin running third, Joey Logano fourth and Greg Biffle fifth. Biffle led a race-high 224 laps but lost first and second gears in his No. 16 Ford and couldn’t accelerate on restarts.

Kevin Harvick came home sixth and remained third in the standings, now 59 points behind Hamlin.

Despite holding the points lead, Hamlin promised to race aggressively next Sunday at Phoenix and in the season finale Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I’m going to race Phoenix as if I’m 33 behind to be honest with you,” Hamlin said. “There’s no comfortable margin going into Homestead, because anything can happen. So for me—Phoenix being an up-and-down racetrack for me—I’ve got to really be focused on practice day to get what I need, to give (crew chief) Mike (Ford) the information that I need and just 100 percent stay focused is all I can do.

“But like I say, I’m not going to be conservative having the lead. I’m going to want to stretch that out before we get to Homestead. So that’s pretty much my mindset.”

Trailing with two races left in the Chase is an uncharacteristic position for Johnson, who has been the frontrunner after eight races in each of the past four years.

“The last four years, we’ve been in a different position,” Johnson said. “I’ve lost plenty of championships in the past, and this is racing, and it doesn’t come easy, and you are not going to get what you want every single year and every single weekend.

“I can promise you this—I am trying as hard as I can. I know my team is. We’re doing everything we can. Thirty-three points back is not where we want to be, but we’re going to work to get back on top.”
Gordon’s pit crew helped salvage a respectable finish for Johnson. After the change, the No. 24 crew performed flawlessly for three stops. Nevertheless, Knaus expected to have his regular crew back next week in Phoenix.

Notes: Driving the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, Trevor Bayne, 19, finished 17th in his Cup debut. … Kyle Busch drew a two-lap unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for flipping off a NASCAR official on pit road after being held a lap for speeding on exit in an attempt to beat the pace car to the scoring line.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 30 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 190/5 334 Running
2 19 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal Black 175/5 334 Running
3 9 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / GoDaddy.com 170/5 334 Running
4 20 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 165/5 334 Running
5 2 16 Greg Biffle Ford American Red Cross 165/10 334 Running
6 26 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 155/5 334 Running
7 7 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 146/0 334 Running
8 5 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 142/0 334 Running
9 17 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 143/5 334 Running
10 12 98 Paul Menard Ford Quaker State / Menards 134/0 334 Running
11 11 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 130/0 334 Running
12 32 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Tom Thumb 127/0 334 Running
13 24 83 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 124/0 334 Running
14 10 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Valvoline 121/0 334 Running
15 18 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Outdoors Mossy Oak 118/0 334 Running
16 25 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Arctic Cat 115/0 334 Running
17 28 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 112/0 334 Running
18 27 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge AAA 109/0 334 Running
19 3 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 106/0 334 Running
20 14 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Tornados 103/0 334 Running
21 13 9 Aric Almirola Ford Budweiser 100/0 334 Running
22 8 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 97/0 334 Running
23 1 19 Elliott Sadler Ford Stanley 99/5 334 Running
24 6 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Operation Home Front / Miller Lite 91/0 334 Running
25 22 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 88/0 334 Running
26 35 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 90/5 334 Running
27 23 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 82/0 334 Running
28 4 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Lysol 79/0 334 Running
29 33 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 81/5 334 Running
30 31 110 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Gander Mountain 73/0 334 Running
31 37 26 Patrick Carpentier Ford Air National Guard 75/5 334 Running
32 29 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 67/0 332 Running
33 36 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing 64/0 332 Running
34 40 71 Andy Lally Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 66/5 331 Running
35 39 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Mapei / Menards 63/5 240 Out of Race
36 16 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 55/0 192 In Pit
37 15 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 52/0 190 Running
38 21 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA / Susan G Komen for the Cure Signature 49/0 188 In Pit
39 38 66 Mike Bliss Toyota Prism Motorsports 51/5 45 In Pit
40 43 09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Phoenix Racing 43/0 35 In Pit
41 41 34 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 40/0 25 In Pit
42 42 37 Dave Blaney Ford A&W All American Food 37/0 23 In Pit
43 34 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota HostGator.com 34/0 12 Out of Race

* Denotes Rookie

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article