Found September 26, 2012 on
Denny Hamlin is winning the mental battle against his NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup competitors. That's what happened this past weekend, he won a mental battle against those guys when he rallied from an opening-race setback with a dominating win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
But those are the same guys who know that Denny is going to be good at Loudon, Denny is going to be good at Richmond, Denny's going to be good at Martinsville. It's the other places that Denny has to worry about.
They expect him to be the car to beat when they go to these racetracks. What the Chase drivers are hoping for is when they get him to Dover, when they get him to Talladega, when they get him to Charlotte, that they can return the favor.
That's what you've got to kind of worry about and work on if you're one of the other Chase contenders.
Don't get all wrapped up in one or two races, because you've got to believe you've got one or two races that you can do the same thing to him.
That's where having some experience in the Chase comes into play. That's where you develop the understanding that this is not just a one-race situation.
If the Chase was one race and that race was Loudon, I could see everybody getting their heads coming off their shoulders, but right now we've got a lot of racing to go and this is what's going to separate the people who maybe have won championships or the ones that are capable of winning championships from the rest of them.
We have great examples of what happens when you lose the mental game. Kyle Busch did it, Denny Hamlin's done it. It's not hard to do. You have to keep everything in the proper perspective to make it come out right.
Can teams help the driver in that situation?
Absolutely. They have to anticipate, they have to be intuitive about what's going on.
The driver has to recognize whether this stuff is getting to him or not and, if it is, then the team and crew chief have got to step up and say, "Let's just keep it within the family, everything's going to be good and look how many races we've got to go. We've got seven more, we've got eight more, we've got a bunch. That's a whole big deal. We haven't gotten to Homestead yet where we've got one more race and it's time for us to be panicky. Stay the course, stay focused and do your job."
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Denny Hamlin turned a lap of 159.299 mph to win the pole Saturday at Dover International Speedway.
Hamlin has been open in his disdain for the 1-mile concrete oval. He has an average finish of 20.5 in 13 career starts at Dover.
Hamlin turned to a sports psychologist for advice and was told he needed to ''fall in love with the track.''
Hamlin, third in the points...
Denny Hamlin was dominant in Sunday’s NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, leading 193 of 300 laps in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota en route to a series-leading fifth victory of the 2012 season in Round 2 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. The Virginia native sliced through the field from his 32nd-place starting position to take the lead for the first time on...
Denny Hamlin thoroughly dominated Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Leading 193 of the 300 laps in the race, Hamlin picked up his series-leading fifth win of the 2012 season.
As the Chase heads to Dover International Speedway for the third race of the ten-race schedule, this week’s rankings by OnPitRoad.com’s Brian Wiggins have taken a shuffle.
Now that race #2 of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is in the books, let’s take a look back at what we learned and what could lie ahead:
1) Denny Hamlin Remains a Title Favorite
After running out of fuel at Chicago and finishing 16th, Hamlin guaranteed via Twitter that he’d win at Loudon. He and his #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team not only delivered, they delivered in dominant...
NASCAR’s three national touring series split away from one another this past weekend, with the headline event and second race of the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup taking place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. There, Denny Hamlin capitalized on a called shot—of sorts—to take his series-leading fifth win of the season and close out [...]
The Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was all about Denny Hamlin. The No. 11 flat-out dominated practice and was untouchable in the race itself. Of course, there was that little matter about qualifying, but that miscue just served to make things more interesting. Otherwise, what would have even been the point of showing [...]
Jimmie Johnson hasn't called his shot, but the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ has reason for hope at one of his best tracks this weekend.
Johnson, the series points leader, leads the list of favorites at Dover International Speedway in Sunday's AAA 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), round 3 in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason.
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