Imaging having too good of a pit stop. That’s what happened to Denny Hamlin at the end of Sunday’s Daytona 500. Hamlin, led a race-high 98 of the 200 laps and hit pit lane with 27 laps remaining with his Toyota teammates from the lead. Unfortunately for Hamlin, his FedEx pit crew had a phenomenal stop and got him off pit road too quickly.
It just feels weird saying that. But, for superspeedway’s, it’s true.
Hamlin, left Kyle Busch in the dust. He was gone. The problem was, the pit stop got him so far out there, he lost out on the drafting help. By time he could move back into Busch’s grasps, the Ford train was hauling ass and easily got by them.
“We were too far out front (on the final pit stop),” Hamlin said. “We got on-and-off pit road too good. I was just too far ahead of the pack.”
It cost Hamlin a third straight win in the Great American Race.
Now, he’s hoping to at least lave Daytona with a win for the third straight year still. He’s got another shot during Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN).
Hamlin, finished runner-up last August on the road course and had one of the top cars during the Busch Clash last week too.
“Yeah, we had a fast car during the Clash, and I’m sure this weekend won’t be any different,” said Hamlin. “We’ll take that data and learn from it, and it will certainly help us as we return to the same course. It’s going to be a tough race like all road courses are, but I’m confident in our team to put us in a position to win.”
Hamlin, was my pick to win this year’s championship and a win this early out of the gates again would definitely make a case that he can make a third straight Championship 4.