Denny Hamlin took his third win of the 2012 season Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin led 70 laps before taking his #11 FedEx Toyota Camry to victory lane. It was the 20th win of Hamlin’s 247 start career but win #200 for car number 11 in NASCAR.
Hamlin had been trying for years to win at Bristol and in victory lane he admitted it was one of his biggest wins in NASCAR. It was an emotional win for Hamlin for that reason. Bristol is a track that you’re either good at, or you’ll never do well there. Hamlin has always run well at Bristol but just never made it to victory lane there until this past weekend.
It’s safe to say the 11 team is a lock for the Chase, but right now it’s looking like he could quite possibly be the only Joe Gibbs Racing car in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Both Joey Logano and Kyle Busch are going to need a second win to even have a solid chance of getting in. Neither of them should feel like they have a secure chance but especially Logano. Would not having a teammate in the chase hurt the 11 team and Denny Hamlin or could it possibly help them? Most people would think it would hurt them but I believe it could help. If only one car from JGR made it, the rest of the team could put all focus on the 11 team.
This week we will go under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway for a Labor Day weekend special. We saw emotions and tempers flare at Bristol and the same thing could very well happen at Atlanta. The track is sometimes known for cookie cutter races but being that we are so close to Chase time, a lot of teams will be trying extra hard to take their spot in the Chase.