Hamlin's Test Session Ends Early
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on December 12, 2012 | 10:30 A.M. EST
Hamlin was able to drive his battered Toyota to the garage. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
CONCORD, N.C. - The final day of testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway ended early for Denny Hamlin after he hit the wall hard in his No. 11 Toyota.
Hamlin said a part broke in the left-front of the car that was one of the original retro-fit Generation 6 cars that Joe Gibbs Racing built.
"It was either a spindle or a component that goes to the spindle, like an upper control arm that actually snapped," Hamlin said. "We are running around here not letting off so the load is very high and everything is under a bit more stress. This is kind of an old recycled car so there's no telling how many miles these parts and components have on them."
The impact gave Hamlin notice for a future adjustment to one of the columns in the car.
"The column we are going to have to adjust that going forward," Hamlin said. "It's right where my incision was for the ACL. It hit that pretty hard, but we are going to have to adjust the location of it."
Hamlin was second fastest in yesterday's afternoon session with a lap of 189.954 mph and is enjoying the way the new cars handle on the racetrack.
"I think that the cars drive better than they have ever had in terms of driver comfort concerned," Hamlin said. "It's fast. It's really, really fast. With these cars with as much comfort as they have with the spoiler, the rear camber and all those things that we have to make these cars handle good, especially in a pack, it's making the speeds go up."
With teams working on different horsepower setups, Hamlin prefers that higher horsepower package.
"It seems like with the higher horsepower and these cars passing will for sure be better than what it was last year with the same car, same engine package," Hamlin said. "Everything is a step in the right direction. The only thing that scares me is obviously the speeds that we are running, but I would rather have more horsepower than less."
The test session gave Hamlin the opportunity to work with his new teammate Matt Kenseth.
"It was awesome to see how we ran the exact same lap times to the thousandths," Hamlin said. "Not to the hundredths to the thousandths. If you look at our styles we do it totally different. It's crazy to see how many ways you can skin a cat. To me it's impressive that what we can do now is pick each other’s laps apart because I was quite a bit faster than him through Turns 1 and 2 and he was quite a bit faster through 3 and 4. So I went out there in the afternoon and pieced my 1 and 2 with his 3 and 4 and I was able to run faster."
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