Denny Hamlin recently had his arm hoisted in victory following his win at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the second event of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Hamlin earned his series-leading fifth victory of the year in New Hampshire, dominating the competition and predicting before the race through his Twitter page that he would win the race.
“You don’t want to sound too cocky, but I knew what we were capable of,” said Hamlin, who was 32nd in qualifying after his crew put the wrong pressure in his tires. “I know we made a couple of big mistakes, but I said we were fast enough to make it up and we did.”
The victory wasn't just another notch on Hamlin's record. It was the 100th career victory for team owner Joe Gibbs, who was formerly the coach of the Washington Redskins that won three Super Bowls. Teamwork was also used in the victory, when Kyle Busch slowed down his vehicle to help suck debris off the front of Hamlins vehicle, which was a significant factor in him winning the race.
“As fast as he was, he could have gone to the back of any car and pulled that off,” said Jimmie Johnson, who finished second and took over the Chase lead. “I kind of thought he would be the guy to beat and he certainly was. We are second-best.”
Johnson will now go to Dover, Delaware, which is one of his top tracks. He's one point ahead of Chicago winner Brad Keselowski who was in sixth place on Sunday. Jeff Gordon was the last man to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The biggest challenge that Hamlin faced during the race occurred when a plastic bag landed on the front of his car, which blocked part of the air intake with close to a third of the race to go.
The developer of NASCAR SAFER systems is now doing a study on whether shorter tracks are safer for drivers. The SAFER barrier system has been successful in keeping drivers safe from violent impacts. Considering the success of the system, some aspects of it could potentially be used by NASCAR in the future, which would improve the performance of drivers.