A mechanical failure last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway knocked Denny Hamlin out of the race early and left him 17 points below the cutline to advance into NASCAR’s title-deciding finale at Phoenix Raceway.
Despite having a 17 deficit in the playoff standings, Hamlin is hopeful to turn around his playoff chances at this weekend’s Round of 8 elimination race at Martinsville Speedway.
Speaking to the media about his chances this weekend, Denny Hamlin said that he has been in such situations many times and performed well, like he did at Phoenix in 2019. He reckons this kind of situation is like an opportunity to show something great.
“There is an opportunity here. Certainly, we have had our backs against the wall in these situations where we’ve kind of needed to win or we really needed to gain a lot of points to make it to the final four.
“Historically, we’ve done really well in these situations. Short of Ross’ move last year, we were behind and dominated and were well on our way. 2019 winning at Phoenix to get in,” Hamlin said as quoted by speedway media.
“We’ve done well. So I love those opportunities for sure. I wouldn’t choose it over being ahead like I said, but, certainly, there’s an opportunity there to show what you’re made of.”
The 42-year-old veteran driver entered the playoffs as one of the favourites to make it to the final 4 race. He has had an amazing 2023 NASCAR season but needs to earn points and maybe even win to advance to the Phoenix race.
“I can’t think of a better race track that fits me” – Denny Hamlin returns to his favorite track this weekend
Joe Gibbs Racing driver returned to the track where he has won multiple races, and that fits his style of racing.
Denny Hamlin has five career wins at Martinsville Speedway, including at Xfinity 500 in 2009 and 2010. He also holds 18-top-5s, 24 top-10s with an average finish of 10.3 at the paperclip-shaped short track.
In a pre-race conference, where he was asked if he has a best chance to win at Martinsville considering his success at the track, Hamlin responded:
“The ball is in our court. We can decide our own fate if we just win the race. I wish it was that easy.
“I wish it was just based off of speed, and things like that, but there are a lot of other factors, but certainly I can’t think of a better race track that fits me and my style and my team.” (via speedway media)
Watch Denny Hamlin at the Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.