Hamlin: No Holding Back In Eliminator

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Saturday, Oct 25 1604

Now that the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has entered the Eliminator Round, with the number of drivers eligible for the championship to be cut from eight to four after the Nov. 9 race at Phoenix, Denny Hamlin’s attitude has shifted to all-out aggressive.

“You have to have all the pieces together, now that you’re part of the final eight, because the four that move on will be the four that stand out, I think, in this round,” Hamlin said.

“It’s not going to be about surviving or backing your way (in). I don’t think anybody other than the race winners (at Martinsville and Texas) will be going into Phoenix thinking, ‘OK, let’s just have a solid week here and move on to Homestead.’ There’s no more hanging back and trying to be conservative from here on out. You’ve got to be fast.”

A four-time winner at Martinsville in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Hamlin is the only non-Chevrolet driver to take a checkered flag at NASCAR’s shortest Cup venue since the spring race of 2004.

And Hamlin showed excellent speed in Friday’s qualifying session. He’ll start fifth in the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 on Sunday.