Denny Hamlin: Denny Hamlin’s Phoenix Win
March 5, 2012 by staff
Denny Hamlin: Denny Hamlin’s Phoenix Win, So far, Denny Hamlin’s premonition has been correct. “We knew we were going to have a rebound year, and I told everyone,” said Hamlin, whose victory in Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway matched his Sprint Cup win total of 2011.
“(But) you’ve got to prove it. This means so much for this whole team to bounce back the way we have. This is a great step in the right direction.”
Hamlin, who led the final 59 laps and held off fuel-saving Kevin Harvick in the final laps, had praise for new crew chief Darian Grubb.
“He made me a winner today,” Hamlin said. “If you’d asked me at the beginning of the day, I would have said I’d take a top-15 finish. I don’t know how our car was as good as it was. We were solidly off in practice. We kept getting it better, (but) I had no idea we were going to fire off like we did today.
“It seemed like once we had that green-flag pit stop (with more than a third of the race left), our car took off.
“Whatever Darian did to the car at that point, it was just lights-out after that.”
Grubb has been to victory lane in six of NASCAR’s last 12 Cup races. He teamed with Tony Stewart to win five races in last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup but was not retained by the reigning series champion.
Grubb landed with Hamlin at Joe Gibbs Racing and seems to be maintaining that hot hand.
“This is just all new tools and all new people, but it’s still the same job,” Grubb said. “Luckily, they have a very strong organization already. I don’t need to change any of those things.”
Hamlin led the most laps in the Daytona 500 a week earlier, finishing fourth, then won Sunday’s race on a track that burned him in November 2010 as Hamlin was trying to outkick Jimmie Johnson for the Cup title.
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