With 30 to go, Denny Hamlin put the hammer down, and passed Martin Truex Jr. who led 173 laps of Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. Truex Jr. tried to dive to the inside twice on the last lap to make a winning move on Hamlin, but wasn’t able to make it stick.
Much of the race was ran under cloud cover, but once the sun decided to poke through it seemed to have changed the complexion of the race. While the sun was shining on the track it was also shining on Denny Hamlin. Denny said that his car was tight in the corners while it was cloudy out, but once the sun came out late in the race, it made the track a little slippery which was fine by Denny, he was finally able to gain ground on the 56 of Truex that was dead ahead.
Under the cloud cover track position seemed to be oh.. so important, the easiest way to pass the guy in front of you was in the pits. Once the clouds gave way to some sun, set-ups that other guys had dialed in seemed to come to life, and the race was on.
Jimmie Johnson also had a fast car and took third place, while Matt Kenseth finished fourth, and Gregg Biffle drove her home to claim a fifth place finish.
Clint Bowyer was hoping to have a better day than he did, his motor decided to expire during the race along with teammate Mark Martin.
Other drivers whose motor decided to go south were Jeff Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte and Kurt Busch. Yes that’s a pretty hefty list of drivers who had engine woes.
When Darian Grubb left Stewart-Haas Racing as the top dog, he wasn’t exactly sure where he would end up.There he sat as a champion crew chief for the 2011 season, and also without a job, as he was told that he would be let go at the end of the season by Tony Stewart.
Rumors had it that he might even stay at Stewart-Haas Racing but in a different role. Then there was an offer from Rick Hendrick at Hendrick Motorsports, who said that he would be more than happy to create a position for Darian.
After all of this, Darin Grubb has landed himself a position over at Joe Gibbs Racing as the crew chief for Denny Hamlin who drives the # 11 FedEX machine.
Denny Hamlin lost the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in 2010 by only a few points to Mr. “Five Time” Jimmie Johnson. He wasn’t a factor for the chase in 2011, so Joe Gibbs decided it was time to change things around a bit, and plucked Darian from the unemployment pool, then decided to put him to work as Denny’s crew chief for the 2012 season.
Darin made some great calls during the Chase Race, and netted Tony Stewart 5 wins with 12 races to go in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. This enabled Tony Stewart to inch out Carl Edwards, who ultimately tied with Stewart for the championship, however the crown went to Stewart for his 5 wins of the season to Carl Edward’s 1 win.
I think that this pairing with Darian Grubb and Denny Hamlin will really turn the 11 team around for the 2012 season. It’s going to be pretty interesting to see how all of this pans out.
It was Denny Hamlin who took the checkers at Sunday’s Heluva Good 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin won the race, but it was Matt Kenseth who had the car to beat. A couple of bad pit stops, one of which the jack man dropped the car before the fuel carrier nodded to give the signal that the Crown Royal machine was good to go. This made Kenseth short on fuel by a couple of laps and he had to slow down and try to conserve fuel in hopes to catch a caution.
Other things that plauged the 17 were the restarts; Matt just couldn’t seem to get the car to hook under the double file restarts spinning the wheels pretty much every time he needed to take off. He tried his hardest on the last lap to get to the rear bumper of the FedEx machine of Denny Hamlin, and came off the corner completely sideways trying with everything that he had, but that wasn’t enough to catch the 11. Continue reading Middle Of The Week Racing News