This week on NASCAR America, Carolyn Manno asked: “This group of the last five races, you look at a driver like Denny Hamlin – he has not started … worse than seventh-place. Why are the results not there for Denny Hamlin?”
It’s not a lack of equipment.
Teammate Kyle Busch is one of the dominant drivers of the season with six wins and a cakewalk through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.
It’s not the lack of horsepower.
Hamlin has started on the front row three times in the past five races.
“This is one of the more perplexing situations in the Cup series of 2018, and that is this team continues to show speed at times – lots of speed, winning two poles recently,” Parker Kligerman said. “This team has obviously got the ability to turn a fast lap, but they have not been able to translate that into good race finishes.”
In the past five weeks, Hamlin has an average starting position of 3.0. They have crossed under the checkered flag worse in every race than they started and accumulated an average finish of 11.6.
“I spoke to Mike Wheeler, his crew chief, this past weekend and they were very optimistic going into the race Saturday night,” Kligerman continued. “Now, obviously they got involved in that Lap 2 wreck and had a lot of damage; they had to pit multiple times to fix it. But then they were given opportunities to be put back in the top 10 – even the top five – but when he got there, they did not seem to have the sped they have shown on one lap.”
Counterintuitive as it may be, speed is not always the issue in the Cup series. Accuracy is much more productive at times, according to Dale Jarrett.
“Trying to find speed, sometimes you get off course,” Jarrett said. “I look at golf and someone … trying to hit their driver 20 yards further. You might do that but you’re over in the rough or in the trees and I kind of see that with what they’re doing. They’re finding that speed, but they’re not able to translate that into getting opportunities to race for a win.”
For more, watch the video above.