Home Cooking For Hamlin

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. - If ever a trip home was needed it's this weekend for Denny Hamlin.

After a tough start to the season, the Virginia native is hoping a return to his home track Martinsville Speedway will help turn things around after a disappointing start to the year.

Tire problems last week at Bristol were the latest issue to bite Hamlin who has dropped to 19th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

"It was frustrating – very frustrating – but we already have moved past it," Hamlin said of his day in the Food City 500 at Bristol. "The good news is that we are running better. We’ve had some bad luck and that has really hurt us but we ran good at Atlanta before the tire problem. We weren’t as good at Bristol but the car was coming around before the tire went and that caused a lot of damage to the car.

"If you are running terrible and you have bad luck, then we may be more concerned. To have bad luck take away from good performance is frustrating but we still know what we are capable of."

Hamlin has been more than capable at the tight Martinsville oval. He has scored two Cup wins at the track and comes into Sunday's race looking for a second straight victory after taking the checkered flag last October.

“I have turned more laps here than any other track dating back to running Late Models here so there is a comfort factor and a familiarity that comes with time on the track," Hamlin said of his success. "Having success here is also important – we expect to come here and be competitive and both (crew chief) Mike (Ford) and I know what it takes for this team to be good here.

"We know where we want to start from when we unload and then work hard in practice on each little detail to get the car as close to perfect as we can, taking into account everything we know about racing here, and racing for wins here.”

Despite the rocky opening to his campaign, Hamlin remains confident and believes his luck has to change.

"It can't go on forever," Hamlin said. "If we keep coming to the track prepared and with good cars eventually the luck will even out. I hope so."

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