Hamlin Hangs On in Richmond

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin overcame being caught in a multi-car accident early in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series regular season finale. (Photo: Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin made it through an eventful night and was able to secure a berth in the Chase with his ninth-place finish in the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Hamlin overcame being caught in a multi-car accident early in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series regular season finale to claim the second wild card spot in the Chase.

“That was not what I had planned on happening,” Hamlin said of the damage he received as a victim of the lap eight crash. “I mean, we thought we were going to have a good car. We didn't know how our car was going to be because we changed a lot of stuff from yesterday. But I mean, my car is just -- it is in bad, bad shape, and somehow it ran as good as it did.”

Hamlin and crew chief Mike Ford had to keep the entire Joe Gibbs Racing team pumped up throughout the course of the race while trying to make necessary adjustments to the car in a multitude of trips to pit road.

All this while trying to keep on eye on the drivers Hamlin was battling for a Chase position.

“It was nerve wracking because every person that could win and then knock us out was running up front all day long, and it was just like, you know, if it wasn't one guy, it was another,” Hamlin said. “One of them was always a threat to win throughout the entire day. It was one of those days where -- very nervous moments.”

So after winning eight races last season and coming down to the wire against Jimmie Johnson in the 2010 championship race, Hamlin gets another shot at the title this year.

He’ll go into the Chase lineup in the 12th and final position and knows there’s a challenge ahead. But Hamlin is confident his team can rise to the occasion and overcome the odds.

“Well, I mean, there's only one place to go from where we're at right now, and that's forward,” Hamlin said. “We're very fortunate to be here, obviously, with the tough season that we've had and the ups and downs and the DNFs and whatnot.

“It's kind of a second lease on life for us and our season. Obviously we're coming into the Chase now with three consecutive top 10s, which I'm not sure we've done that all year long. We've got some momentum. Who knows what's going to happen next week.”

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Denny Hamlin

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