Hamlin Not Happy With Eighth

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Monday, Oct 27 1382

Throughout Sunday’s race at Martinsville, Denny Hamlin ran consistently in the top five, led 68 laps and had a car capable of contending for the win.

But Hamlin’s day soured initially with a slow pit stop on Lap 420, when he entered pit road from the lead and came out fourth. When three cars stayed out on old tires and took the green flag with five laps left, Hamlin lost more positions and eventually came home eighth.

That left the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota fifth in the standings, seven points behind leader Jeff Gordon. But fifth won’t be good enough when the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is cut from eight drivers to four two weeks hence at Phoenix.

“It's hard, because you've got guys that go laps down in the course of the race and get enough lucky dogs and then 50 laps on their tires, and they want to stay out,” Hamlin fumed. “Just bottlenecks the field up and we all got the short end of last restart stick again. Just sucked at the end, and we can't finish where we're running.

“We're running better than what we're finishing. Other guys, like (Ryan) Newman (third Sunday) are finishing better than they're running. That's part of the deal. You've got to do it for all 500 laps, and we just didn't have a very good car once the track went shaded there, and we came in first and came out fourth on a slow stop. I couldn't recover from that.”