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Woody: Wrong Call On Right Move

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 31 2010

Denny Hamlin and his team made the unpopular move but the winning move on Monday. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer

Isn’t it fun when the experts are wrong?

Fox Sports commentators Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds both said Denny Hamlin had blown it when he ducked in for tires with just a few laps to go Monday at Martinsville.

They declared – and I’m paraphrasing – it was an incredibly bone-headed call that would cost Hamlin the race.

We all know what happened. Hamlin made an amazing charge, elbowed past the leaders, and won the race.

So much for the “experts.”

Wonder if Darrell and Larry like their crow broiled or fried?

Hamlin’s Martinsville Miracle Despite Misguided Media didn’t start with his amazing finish. Earlier in the week an “expert” web writer had declared that Denny had blown the season by postponing his knee surgery.

The writer said Hamlin made a mistake by not taking care of his bum knee before the season started. By waiting to have surgery during the season (claimed the expert) he was hampered by his bad knee and couldn’t drive competitively.

So what happened? Hamlin won a tough race on brake-demanding Martinsville, bad knee be-darned.

Again, I don’t want to be hard on the web wizard; conventional wisdom called for Hamlin to get his knee fixed before the season, rather that try to grit it out.

But once again, conventional wisdom is not always wise.

I recall that early last season another website columnist wrote that Mark Martin had made a big mistake by coming out of semi-retirement to race full-time again.

The columnist explained that he was fond of Martin and hated to see him embarrass himself by trying to keep up with kids half his age. Mark was too old, too rusty, and should have stayed in his rocking chair where he belonged.

Again, we all saw what happened: Mark suddenly began driving like a teenager on prom night. He won an incredible five races and finished an even more amazing second in the championship standings.

It was one of the most inspiring runs in NASCAR history. Thank goodness Mark didn’t pay any attention to the goofy columnist who thought he’d made a mistake by saddling up again.

That goofy columnist was, uh, me.

I have some excellent crow recipes I can pass along to Waltrip and McReynolds.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 31 2010