Denny Hamlin holds himself to a high standard – and finishing in fourth place just doesn’t cut it.
When asked about his performance in Saturday’s Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hamlin was clearly less than thrilled at his top-five finish in his fill-in role for injured teammate Kyle Busch.
“Mediocre at best,” Hamlin said. “Proud of this whole Monster Energy team, but that’s about what we had for a car. We didn’t have any short run speed and that kills you on these restarts.
“We had a big hole in the nose that in hindsight we probably should have fixed, but other than that it was kind of a status quo day. It’s kind of what we had. Didn’t tear anything up and we’ll build on it and try to run better next time.”
Hamlin was in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Monster Energy Toyota Camry in place of Busch, who suffered a broken right leg and broken left foot in a wreck in the Xfinity Series season opener two weeks ago at Daytona.
In just his third Xfinity start in as many seasons, Hamlin might have been able to mount a late charge, but his car’s handling went away in the closing laps of the 200-lap event at the 1.5-mile racetrack.
“It just got tight at the end of the day, but still proud of this team,” Hamlin said. “Just didn’t have the car or the speed to run with the 33 (race winner Austin Dillon).”