Skip to content

Could Denny Hamlin play the spoiler at Martinsville?

Oct 22, 2013, 3:57 PM EDT

AAA 400 - Practice Getty Images

It has been a chaotic season for Denny Hamlin, who missed four races earlier this season with a back injury sustained at Auto Club Speedway and has only collected one Top-10 finish in the last 18 events.

But this weekend’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 powered by Kroger at Martinsville Speedway may present a great opportunity for the beleaguered Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

With four victories there in his Sprint Cup career – the most recent of which came in the fall of 2010 – as well as nine Top-5 and 12 Top-10 finishes, Hamlin is coming to one of his best tracks.

A fifth Martinsville win for Hamlin would make history on several fronts. It would mark the first time that a driver outside the Chase for the Sprint Cup has won a post-season event at the track, and it would also mark the first time that non-Chase competitors have won on three consecutive post-season weekends (Brad Keselowski, two races ago at Charlotte; Jamie McMurray on Sunday at Talladega).

But more importantly, a Hamlin triumph would rob Chase leader Jimmie Johnson of at least some precious points he needs to stay ahead of Hamlin’s teammate, Matt Kenseth, who sits four points behind going into a track that hasn’t been an especially good one for him (no wins, three Top-5s in 27 starts).

As noted by Micah Roberts of The Sporting News, Kenseth may have to focus on keeping his deficit to Johnson manageable if Johnson is his usual Martinsville self (eight career wins, average finish of 5.3) – and Hamlin could lend him a hand if he’s given a No. 11 JGR Toyota that can contend.

It may be asking too much of Hamlin and the No. 11 team, who have likely been racing with one eye toward 2014 for some time now. But based on their past body of work at Martinsville, a surprise from them this weekend is by no means a far-fetched prospect.

Latest Posts
  1. Greg Ives to become crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT

    GregIvesCrop Getty Images

    Ives currently serves as crew chief for Nationwide Series points leader Chase Elliott and also worked as a race engineer for Jimmie Johnson during his run of five Sprint Cup titles from 2006-2010.

  2. Gordon’s crew chief: 24 team more confident after Brickyard win

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT

    Sprint All-Star Race - Practice Getty Images

    In addition to talking about the meaning of Sunday’s win at Indy, Alan Gustafson touches on the penalties against fellow crew chief Darian Grubb and Joe Gibbs Racing.

  3. Columbus Blue Jackets’ James Wisniewski, Jared Boll named Mid-Ohio grand marshals

    Jul 30, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    BlueJacketsGMs Getty Images

    Pair of Blue Jackets players to give the command for Honda Indy 200 this weekend.

  4. Better mindset, form for Briscoe, CGR heading into final month of 2014

    Jul 30, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Briscoe072914 Getty Images

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed the uptick in form of Ryan Briscoe and the NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing team over the last couple months. Here’s a recap…

  5. MRTI: Jam-packed weekend for all three ladder series on tap at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    MazdaRoadToIndy

    Seven races on tap for Indy Lights (2), Pro Mazda (2) and USF2000 (3) in critical Mid-Ohio weekend.

  6. Ten with Townsend: Toronto debrief

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    TorontoLeadPts Getty Images

    Insights and observations from NBCSN’s Townsend Bell after the pair of Toronto races, heading into Mid-Ohio.

  7. NASCAR AMERICA: Tuesday Round-Up (VIDEO)

    Jul 29, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    The impact of the Jeff Gordon Era; a family affair at Indy for the Dillons; thoughts on the Homestead tire test in August.

  8. JGR’s Brickyard penalties in line with similar ’08 penalty for Edwards, Roush

    Jul 29, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

    Denny Hamlin AP

    Carl Edwards, Jack Roush and crew chief Bob Osborne were severely penalized for a missing oil tank container lid after Edwards’ win at Las Vegas six years ago.

  9. Denny Hamlin’s team hit with big penalties after Brickyard infraction

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT

    Pocono 400 - Practice Getty Images

    No. 11 crew chief Darian Grubb suspended for six races, fined $125,000; No. 11 car chief Wesley Sherrill suspended for six races; Denny Hamlin loses 75 championship points, but still in position to make the Chase.

  10. High 5: Chip Ganassi Racing’s win streak at Mid-Ohio (VIDEO)

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 Getty Images

    A look back at Ganassi’s half-decade of dominance at the old-school road course in the Ohio countryside.

  11. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Coming up today: The Top 5 wins of Jeff Gordon’s career; “Scan All 43″ for the Brickyard 400; reaction to Ty Dillon’s Nationwide win at Indianapolis.

  12. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: Where is Jeff Gordon among NASCAR’s greats? (VIDEO)

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Getty Images

    Richard Petty and David Pearson were joined on Sunday by Jeff Gordon as the only Sprint Cup drivers to win at least 90 races at NASCAR’s top level.

  13. Susan G. Komen honors Pippa Mann as its rookie-of-the-year; Mann also auctions helmet

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    PippaKomenAward

    Between a few days in Texas and auctioning off her race worn Indianapolis 500 helmet, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Pippa Mann and the Susan G. Komen organization.

  14. Chase-eligible teams – but not drivers – allowed at Homestead tire test

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT

    Advocare 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Chase-eligible teams will have to send a driver not qualified for the post-season to an Aug. 26 tire test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

  15. IndyCar flashback: Looking at telemetry from Robby Gordon at Mid-Ohio, 1994 (VIDEO)

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    RobbyDakar AP

    IndyCar heads to Mid-Ohio this week. Here’s how telemetry readings from the track looked 20 years ago.

  16. Caterham, ex-employees to pursue legal action against each other

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Qualifying Getty Images

    After a group of laid-off employees from Caterham announced their intent to pursue legal action against the team’s new owners, Caterham has said they’ll push for a lawsuit against the ex-employees over “gross misrepresentation of the facts.”

  17. Q&A: Kevin Healy on Milwaukee IndyFest activation heading into Wisconsin State Fair

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Milwaukee IndyFest 225 - Day 2 Getty Images

    MotorSportsTalk catches up with Milwaukee IndyFest general manager Kevin Healy of Andretti Sports Marketing for a primer on the level of IndyFest promotion you’ll see at the Wisconsin State Fair, which starts Thursday.

  18. Red Bull’s Horner: “We’ve overachieved in many respects”

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Christian Horner AP

    It’s been a character-building season for the defending World Champions, but things are looking up for Red Bull going into the summer break.

  19. PWC: Charity efforts and comebacks afoot for Mid-Ohio round

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    WC

    Two charity cars and three comeback efforts highlight the Pirelli World Challenge weekend at Mid-Ohio.

  20. IndyCar: Hawksworth on the doorstep of breakthrough with BHA

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    HawkMidO Getty Images

    English rookie Jack Hawksworth has impressed more often than not during his first IndyCar season, and could bag his first win before the year’s out.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

It's the Jeff Gordon era

Featured video

Inside the Hungarian GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. D. Hamlin (1163)
  2. J. McMurray (1086)
  3. A. Almirola (941)
  4. T. Bodine (919)
  5. K. Busch (851)