No doubt, Denny Hamlin has had a good career.
Hamlin in his three full seasons in Sprint Cup Series has made the Chase for the Championship every year.
Now 20 races into his fourth season, Hamlin has amassed four wins, 38 top fives, and 67 top 10s and six poles in 135 races. He also won Budweiser Shootout back in 2006 as a Rookie.
Hamlin has been nothing but consistent the past two years. In 2007 he recorded one win, 12 top fives, and 18 top 10's. In 2008 he had one win, 12 top fives, and 18 top 10's.
Exactly the same. It's time for improvement.
Hamlin before the season had shown his own frustration. In February 2009's edition of NASCAR Illustrated, Hamlin says "It's time to set loftier goals." Ok Denny, now that they are set, go achieve them.
He's got the equipment, and he's got the power, now it's time for results.
Hamlin, in that same article, goes onto bash the higher-ups at Joe Gibbs Racing. Saying that the Joe Gibbs Racing shops are "political."
Whether its JGR, crew chief Mike Ford, or Hamlin himself, all is not well in the No. 11 shop, and it's time to start winning.
The Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola on July Fourth, was vintage Hamlin.
During that race you could clearly see who had the car to beat that night: Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and Regan Smith were the only three cars able to jump out of line and pass other cars as they pleased.
Yet, Hamlin once again did not win the race. He ended up finishing third- a good day for most teams -but not with a car that good.
Now don't get me wrong, Hamlin has had a good season, but maybe it's time to start expecting more from the No. 11 team.
This week we're at the Pocono Raceway. Hamlin swept both races here in 2006. His four career victories have come on flat tracks which is where Hamlin excels at.
This week, expect more of the same. Hermie Sadler will pick Hamlin again, just like last week and many weeks before, in the NASCAR Race Day fantasy picks. And once again expect Hamlin to run well, have the best car, and not win.
Hamlin is solidly in the chase, but when it starts at New Hampshire, without a win, he'll be behind the eight ball, as well as the other 11 cars.
If things do not improve for Hamlin, expect changes in the future.
It's time for the No. 11 team to go from a chase contender, to a championship contender.
I look at this team as sort of like the NFL's San Diego Chargers.
Their colors are similar, and like the Chargers with Marty Schottenheimer, they were a playoff contender, and a very good one. But the Chargers had trouble making out of the first round and so does the 11 team.
Finally, when the Chargers did fire Schottenheimer and hired Norv Turner, they went from a playoff contender, to a superbowl contender.
The higher-ups in San Diego knew the Chargers had everything in place to be a superbowl contender, their was just something missing.
And just like in NASCAR we know the 11 team has everything in place to be a championship contender, there's just something missing, and if Denny Hamlin, and Mike Ford don't step it up, like Marty Schottenheimer, that something missing will be one of them.
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