15 points separate the NASCAR championship contenders Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson as they prepare to race for all the marbles on the Homestead Miami Speedway this weekend in the Ford 400. Jimmie Johnson ramped up the trash talking after Hamlin's No.11 team played it safe and pitted the car late in the Phoenix race, finishing 20th.
Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin's NASCAR TItle battle ramped up when Mike Ford chose the pit stall directly in front of the No. 48.
When both pit crews went head to head at Texas Chad Knaus snapped.
The race at Texas Motor Speedway changed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship battle for the remainder of the season. Chad Knaus fired the No. 48 Lowe's pit crew in the middle of the race and installed the No. 24 Dupont pit crew in their stead. The decision to take the pit crew that had led them to four straight NASCAR titles was a rash one and could hurt them in the Homestead Ford 400.
Denny Hamlin was not as cheerful when he emerged from his car at the end of the day in Phoenix.
Jimmie Johnson went to another level of trash talk after narrowing the margin to 15 points. Jimmie Johnson emerged from his car after the Phoenix race and started working on Hamlin and his No. 11 team. Johnson said, "I hope he can't sleep all week heading into this race. I hope during the race he hears every little rattle in the car." Hamlin emerged from his car visibly upset and threw a water bottle handed to him by him publicist.
Joe Gibbs & Rick Hendrick Have Done Battle for NASCAR Titles in Past but Hendrick has more NASCAR hardware.
Joe Gibbs the owner of the No.11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin has won Super Bowls and NASCAR Sprint Cup Championships. Rick Hendrick may not have a Super Bowl ring on his hand but he has plenty of NASCAR Championship trophies proudly displayed in his shop. When it comes to owners Joe Gibbs has three NASCAR titles to Rick Hendrick's nine. The edge goes to Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson.
Winning Texas could be the difference for Denny Hamlin and company.
Denny Hamlin has a huge edge due to the win at Texas two weeks ago. Hamlin and Mike Ford now have the capability of matching the No. 48 Lowe's team stride for stride and staying glued to their tail all race long. A big point of contention will be laps led and most laps led in this race. Hamlin gained points in Phoenix by leading most laps and will need to do so here in Homestead also.
Jimmie Johnson knows pressure and his four straight NASCAR titles earned praise from President Obama.
Jimmie Johnson has been here before and has reaped the rewards four straight times. There is no one to compare what he has accomplished in NASCAR to this point and he could be on the verge of an unprecedented fifth NASCAR Championship.
Denny Hamlin is the defending champ of the Ford 400.
Denny Hamlin has the edge for car set up heading into the 2010 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He is the defending champ on the mile and a half track and he has been the better of he and Jimmie Johnson on the mile and a half tracks of late. Momentum and unloading off the truck with last years set up gives Hamlin a decided advantage as they prepare for the last race.
Who has the best record on the Homestead-Miami Speedway?
Jimmie Johnson has never won a race on the Homestead-Miami Speedway. One of the few tracks he has been skunked. Johnson's average finish is 12.7 at Homestead but his average finish on intermediate or mile and a half tracks is 9.7 over his career. Johnson also won the pole position in last years Ford 400. Denny Hamlin is the defending champ of the Ford 400 and his average finish on the intermediate track is 10.6 but in his career his average finish is 13.4 overall on intermediate tracks. Recent history is still on Hamlin's side for this race and the NASCAR Championship.
Denny Hamlin has the edge in the NASCAR trophy department this season.
What wins NASCAR Championships, consistency or wins? This season will test the belief that consistency wins titles. Jimmie Johnson has six wins by 18 top fives entering this race while Denny Hamlin owns eight trophies this season and 14 top fives. The difference between the two drivers is Hamlin's two wins and this could ultimately decide the champion.
Denny Hamlin will end the Hendrick Motorsports stranglehold on the NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend.
Denny Hamlin will win this years NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a detailed plan drawn up by his crew chief Mike Ford for the strategy of the race. Chad Knaus will also have a plan but the contingencies that Mike Ford and Denny Hamlin will have at their disposal will win them this title.