Saturday, November 1, 2008
Things are starting to click, and Texas is always a favorite
By Denny Hamlin
Teammates Kyle Busch, left, and Denny Hamlin hang out in the garage at Texas Motor Speedway.
Hello from Texas and the Texas Motor Speedway.
This is one of my favorite tracks to visit and a place where we've run pretty well over the past couple of years.
This track is a special place for me -- it was three years ago this race weekend that I was named as the permanent driver for the No. 11 FedEx team. It was one of those days and events I will never forget, and I think about that every time we go back.
For those of you who tuned in last weekend, you saw this No. 11 team put together a good race.
I need to give a lot of credit to the pit crew last week -- they were great all day long and it was their quick work that helped me beat the No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) off pit road and take the lead for the first time. After that, the FedEx Camry just took off like a rocket when it had some clean air on the nose.
The car was so good and we really had the field covered under green. The last thing we wanted was a caution to tighten the field and force us to go through another restart. For as good as the car was all day, it didn't like tire cycles and we suffered on restarts.
It wasn't until that second to last caution that I lined up out front but had Carl Edwards restarting second on my bumper. I did my best to keep the wheels under me but a little wheel spin gave Carl the break he needed and when he got outside of me there was nothing I could do to hold him off.
I hated it for the team and for myself because we really wanted a win at Atlanta. When we look at tracks where we expect to run really well, Atlanta isn't one of them. It's been a tough place for us to find the handle but also a place where we've had some brutal luck. It looked like last weekend was going to be a big opportunity for us to win that race and we wanted it bad. It was another top-5 for us and we'll take that Atlanta every time.
What Jimmie Johnson has done in the Chase is pretty unbelievable. That No. 48 team really knows how to win when it comes to the Chase and they've shown again this year that winning a championship means going through them. It's not officially over but it would take something strange happening to have it go any other way right now.
Texas is a track where we've run about as well as any. The guys at JGR have given me some outstanding cars, and it's a track where I feel really comfortable. In the spring we ran top-5 for most of the day and we have spent most of our time at Texas in the top 10. Besides how much I like the track, it's one of my favorite areas to visit.
Well, I'll write again next week when I get to Phoenix. I hope everyone had a happy Halloween.
Denny Hamlin drives the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry. He shares his weekly thoughts on and off the track with ESPN.com readers with the help of writer Angelique S. Chengelis.