Denny Hamlin: Four Reasons the NASCAR Championship Is His To Lose

Todd JacobsCorrespondent INovember 9, 2010

Denny Hamlin & Mike Ford Have won the battle on the track and in the mind.
Denny Hamlin & Mike Ford Have won the battle on the track and in the mind.Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Denny Hamlin and his Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Mike Ford have played the No.48 Lowes Hendrick Motorsports team out of the title.  It was not just one simple move that will topple the four time champs.  It has been a carefully designed plan that has come to fruition. 

Hamlin his crew chief Ford and car owner Joe Gibbs have carefully devised the plan that is now just two races away from being a success.  From getting into the heads of the perfectionist and conceited crew chief, Chad Knaus to challenging the cocky four time champion himself, Jimmie Johnson.  Hamlin and his team have been the team of destiny for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase.

No.4 Reason NASCAR Championship is Hamlin's to Lose

Joe Gibbs and his master plan for Denny Hamlin.  Gibbs has cultivated Hamlin, a Washington Redskins fan for life, into a replica of a mixture of his best players over the years.  He has nurtured and brought maturity to the young driver over his tenure and even lives next door to his young protege.  The advice of Joe Gibbs over the years and now in this NASCAR Chase resonate with the young Hamlin.

No.3 Reason NASCAR Championship is Hamlin's to Lose

Denny Hamlin has had a plan all season long including having his ACL surgery during the early part of the season so he would be healthy for the NASCAR Chase. The fact that he gutted it out for the entire race in Phoenix two weeks after surgery was a hint of things to come at the end of the season.  Hamlin learned while he suffered that day and this weekend will be a piece of cake for him.

No.2 Reason NASCAR Championship is Hamlin's to Lose

Denny Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford knows how to play head games better than Chad Knaus and the four time NASCAR Champ Jimmie Johnson.  Mike Ford learned a lesson from Chad Knaus at Kansas.  Knaus took the pit stall directly in front of Hamlin and Ford.  This broke an unwritten rule and left the door open for Mike Ford to exact revenge. 

Ford then took the pit stall in front of Knaus and Johnson and the results could not have worked better for the Joe Gibbs Racing No.11 team.  Chad Knaus benched his pit crew and on Monday morning replaced them for the remainder of the season with the No.24 Hendrick Motorsports team. 

The Lowes team including perfectionist Chad Knaus fell apart under the pressure and now have scrapped their four time championship team.  Meltdown does not to begin to explain what has happened in the Hendrick Motorsports camp.

No.1 Reason NASCAR Championship is Hamlin's to Lose

Denny Hamlin's driving style will suit him well on the Phoenix track and the Homestead track in Florida.  Phoenix is flat and fast and Homestead is now a progressive banking track.  Both tracks are in Hamlin's wheel house. Hamlin and his team are unified against a Lowes team that is actually the Dupont crew.  If Hamlin loses now he can't blame anyone but himself.