Hamlin eyes 1st Dover win
Sits on the pole looking for elusive victory
DOVER, Del. — Denny Hamlin is 0-for-Dover in a stellar career for Joe Gibbs Racing that includes two Daytona 500 victories.
He’s also missing a Cup championship, conspicuous by its absence on a resume that boasts 35 wins over 499 career starts. Hamlin took a nice first step toward erasing his winless drought at Dover International Speedway when he turned a lap of 166.984 mph to start the second round of the playoffs on the pole.
That championship that sits just seven races away, well, Hamlin believes it’s his for the taking.
“Even though I’ve had past stumbles here, and it hasn’t technically been my best race track, we know we are fully capable of winning at any race track,” Hamlin said. “It doesn’t matter what the past history is.”
Hamlin has never won on the mile concrete track in 27 races dating to 2006. He has only four top-five finishes, did not finish four times and his average finish is just 17.5. He finished 21st in the No. 11 Toyota in the May race at Dover.
But to win a championship, a driver must often excel in crunch time on a track that gives him fits. With four wins this season, Hamlin is enjoying a renaissance with new crew chief Chris Gabehart. Hamlin said the chemistry gives him confidence to remain in championship contention.
“I think a lot of it comes from the crew chief,” Hamlin said. “I think that he’s done a phenomenal job when you go back to races for the second time, adjusting based off the information that I gave him.”