What is about Denny Hamlin and Mondays? Remember that win he got on a Monday at Pocono, after his grandmother passed away? What about Martinsville? Now, you can add a win at Texas to the collection.
Contrast his day to Jeff Gordon, who has to really be hating Mondays now. Once again, Gordon comes so close, though the final results from the Samsung Mobile 500 won’t reflect that. What Dale Earnhardt, Jr. referred to as a “big mess of stupid” took Gordon, pole-sitter Tony Stewart, and the quite competitive Carl Edwards- among others- out of contention.
I don’t what’s unluckier, to go out and try to race with complete junk, or to be in Gordon’s shoes, and race after race, come so close, only to be denied at the end. Smoke takes the fall, but really, it just looked like a “racin’ deal” from here. What I saw on that re-start that produced this wreck showed me that these guys are capable of racing with great passion, and not just for points.
We’ve opined often on these pages about Hamlin’s emotions. They’ve often gotten him in trouble. What we seem to be seeing in Hamlin now is passion, a heart to win races that allows him to push through the pain. It makes you grimace just watching him climbing in and out of a race car with that post op knee. Yours truly isn’t the only one who’s questioned Hamlin’s ability to be the one to knock off Jimmie Johnson, but here he is, having won two of his last three races. Boys and girls, I think Denny’s serious.
How lucky can one guy be? Jimmie Johnson cuts a tire beating and banging with Jeff Gordon, darn near puts his car in the wall trying to catch Hamlin and at the end, AND HE INCREASES HIS LEAD IN THE POINTS! Somebody needs to steal that horseshoe! All frivolity aside, his effort in Texas showcases why Johnson is one of the greats.
He may not have won, but Dale Earnhardt, Jr. logs yet another solid finish. The lack of wins may fuel the critics and frustrate his fans (I live with one of them), but it looks from here like they’re stringing it together.
It has to feel good for Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick and the Busch brothers to come away with solid finishes. All have experiences some rough patches in one way or another. Kyle, for one, was a testament to perseverance, and dang near pulled it off.
Now we have the “Lotto 500” coming up. This wild card race almost guarantees a shake-up, just because it always does. You know, Joe Gibbs has won here with his guys before. I wouldn’t count out Kyle Busch….and I sure won’t look past Denny Hamlin.