Hamlin Hopes For Sweet Homecoming

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Denny Hamlin counts Martinsville Speedway as his home track and looks to celebrate in front of his fans and family with a win in Sunday's Goody's Cool Orange 500.

"Yeah, I definitely like coming here to Martinsville," said Hamlin, who will start outside polesitter Jeff Gordon in Sunday's race. It always has a great crowd here. It always promotes really great racing, even in the past years. There have really just never been any runaway races."

The short track rough and tumble nature of the .526-mile track is something Hamlin considers special.

"It's just a tough race track," he said. "When we come here we know the racing is tough. It is a track that most everyone looks forward to. You got to kind of go with the economy and see how things are going, but you always want to keep to your roots and this is where it all pretty much started."

Hamlin has come close to winning at Martinsville but so far is short of his goal at finsing victory lane.

The Hendrick Motorsports combo of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson has been a major reason for the drought, considering they have teamed up to win eight of the last ten Sprint Cup races at the track.

"I'm usually the guy that runs right behind them it seems like," Hamlin said. "When those guys were on and winning races here I was always in the mix. It was the 24, 48 and the 11. Those are the kind of the cars that have run good here in the past. I feel like there is really not going to be much difference when it comes around this time."

But Hamlin believes he has something for the Hendrick duo and considers himself a favorite on Sunday.

"I think maybe we're a little bit more prepared for those guys this year, though," he said. "I think our cars are working a little bit better and maybe theirs aren't working as well as they were last year at this time. So maybe we have something for them this time around. Definitely, when we come here we know we've got to pay attention to the 48, 24 and you're always going to kind of have a wild card in there -- a couple cars that kind of pop in there and run good. Typically, we know when we come here we can run top-three and usually those two cars are the cars you are going to have to beat. I don't see it really being any exception this time around."

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