Despite tough day at Kansas, Hamlin confident he can win at Talledega

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It’s been a rough Round of 12 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for Denny Hamlin.

In the first two races of the second round , he’s finished 30th (Charlotte) and 15th (Sunday at Kansas).

That leaves Hamlin below the Chase cutoff line heading to Talladega in 10th place, 43 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson and six points short of eighth-ranked Joey Logano.

Even so, Hamlin is confident he can win at Talladega, which would advance him to the Round of 8.

“I’ve got confidence I can win every single week on the race track,” said Hamlin, who won this year’s Daytona 500. “It’s just – this is a team sport and you’ve got to have every facet of the car and the team all put together and we’ve just got to execute. I’ve got full confidence we can go to Talladega and win next week and we’ll show that when we get there.”

Crew chief Mike Wheeler also remains confident.

“We had a lot of challenges today, more than we were expecting,” he said. “We were hoping for a smooth day and a top-three finish and ended up having three or four issues, and battled back from all of them and had a top 15 out of it, which isn’t too bad. We still have a chance to go into next week and we’ll try to make the most of it.

“We knew going into Talladega that we would probably have to have a win to get in (to the Round of 8). At this point right now, we probably need that, but honestly if we go run top three, things can fall our way. It’s not going to stop us from doing the best we can and our speedway program is pretty good for us, so I’m actually okay with going there and looking forward to it.”

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