Hamlin Remains Positive in Defeat

Denny Hamlin

After leading 150 laps, Hamlin fell back to 13th on the final pitstop after a call for four tires instead of two. (Photo: Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin still believes in crew chief Darian Grubb and the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 team despite a miscue in Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Hamlin had the strongest car in the race and led 150 laps during the afternoon, but was forced to settle for second behind race winner Kasey Kahne.

A miscommunication between Hamlin and Grubb on the final pit stop of the day resulted in a four tire rather than a two-tire strategy that wound up costing the team several positions.

Hamlin was shuffled back to 13th after the snafu, but still made a hard charge back toward the front of the field only to come up one spot short of a complete rebound.

“Yeah, I mean, I was on the edge of every corner entry the last 20 laps probably,” said Hamlin of his closing laps run. “I was doing everything I could. All I wanted to do was just get close enough where I could hit him to make it somewhat interesting. I just didn't have enough distance. He just stretched out so far that we ran out of time. Really I ran out of brakes and talent with a couple laps to go.”

Hamlin made a desperation move on the final turn but wound up going way out of the groove before finally collecting his car and drive to the checkered flag.

“Just a dive bomb move to make up some kind of ground to see if I could make something happen,” he said. “Overdriving the car really doesn't pay anything. It cost us some time. Other than that it's just one of those deals.”

Although Hamlin did not come away from Loudon with win number three of the season, he still believes the team is capable of contending for more victories and a championship.

“You know, just a great racecar, really a great racecar,” Hamlin said of his day. “You're going to have days like this. It's part of racing. That's why it's such a team sport. It's the pit crew, the driver, the car, the crew chief, all those things put together. We just had a slight miscommunication, that one little mistake will magnify and take a win away from you.

“Proud of our team. We had an amazing racecar. We lost three points today, that's about it. Even though we didn't get the win and the trophy, we just missed out on three points and that was it.”

Most importantly Hamlin stands by Grubb even if the turn of events cost them a potential win on Sunday.

“Your emotions, it's tough to keep them in check when you know you've kind of given one away,” he said. “Darian has won me a couple races this year more than he's taken away from me.”

Hamlin also took away a positive from the circumstances on Sunday and feels his team will be even better prepared when the series comes back to Loudon for the September Chase race.

“We're going to take this and know when we come back, when it really counts in a few months, we're going to have something pretty strong,” he said.

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