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Hamlin Looking To Extend Streak

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 11 2018

Denny Hamlin has been a race-winner every season he has been a full time driver in Cup. This season, he is still looking for win No. 1. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

Denny Hamlin won his second-straight pole on Friday when he posted the fastest time in qualifying for this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

But it was another streak which the Joe Gibbs Racing driver had on his mind afterward – his streak of winning at least one race in every season since joining the series full time in 2006.

“It is, it is a very important streak,” Hamlin, winless in 2018, said. “I think about it and I thought it was all over in 2013 – the year that I broke my back and we won in the final race of the season to keep the streak alive. You look back at the really great drivers of NASCAR and they had long streaks – 10 years and above of winning in a row and you just want that to go on for sure, it’s important.”

Hamlin has had multiple-win seasons the last three years. His top season in terms of wins was 2010 when he won 10 times. Five times he has had one-win seasons.

What’s up with 2018, where he has had good runs but no wins?

“It’s been just crazy things that have happened that you think can’t possibly happen,” he said. “We have had a tremendous amount of bad luck – luck and preparation and you get into that whole quote thing, but last week was luck from our standpoint. We weren’t doing anything and then we got a penalty from our side, from someone running over our pit crew guys so that was a crazy sequence and weeks before that.

“As far as speed, off the front three guys I feel like we’ve been off a little bit all year. I feel like there was a time in the spring and early summer where I felt confident that we were the fourth fastest car every week and then the last month and a half came and we just struggled at some race tracks and just perplexing that I could get in the car and drive correctly or not the way that I needed them to driver. Now we’re starting to turn back the other way and be pretty fast again. I think we’ve really worked on the right things to get us to this point and nothing is more frustrating than working as hard as I have and the team has over the last two months and not getting any results.”

Pole wins are pleasant but they don’t get you automatic berths in the playoffs, which are now five races away.

Hamlin hopes pole will, however, give his team momentum.

“Now hopefully these two poles in a row will lead to leading more laps, winning more stages and winning races and then becoming someone that can contend with the top guys, that’s the ultimate goal,” he said. “We can’t take anything for granted at this point, passing through the first round of Playoffs used to be just a breeze and a month and a half ago I said I was scared to get through the second round. If we run like this, we will be fine.”

Friday’s pole was won with a lap at 202.794 mph (35.504 seconds). And for the second straight week, he will line up on the front row with teammate Kyle Busch.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Consumers Energy 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Friday, August 10, 2018

  1. (11)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 202.794 mph.
  2. (18)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 202.731 mph.
  3. (4)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 202.100 mph.
  4. (20)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 201.805 mph.
  5. (3)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 201.748 mph.
  6. (31)  Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 201.658 mph.
  7. (78)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 201.421 mph.
  8. (12)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 201.309 mph.
  9. (22)  Joey Logano, Ford, 201.230 mph.
  10. (88)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 201.185 mph.
  11. (10)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 200.524 mph.
  12. (41)  Kurt Busch, Ford, 200.033 mph.
  13. (17)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 200.842 mph.
  14. (21)  Paul Menard, Ford, 200.814 mph.
  15. (1)  Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200.574 mph.
  16. (14)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 200.267 mph.
  17. (42)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200.072 mph.
  18. (2)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 199.590 mph.
  19. (48)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 199.496 mph.
  20. (24)  William Byron #, Chevrolet, 199.231 mph.
  21. (9)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 199.077 mph.
  22. (43)  Bubba Wallace #, Chevrolet, 197.721 mph.
  23. (37)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 197.596 mph.
  24. (38)  David Ragan, Ford, 197.439 mph.
  25. (47)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 197.352 mph.
  26. (6)  Trevor Bayne, Ford, 197.298 mph.
  27. (13)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 197.298 mph.
  28. (95)  Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 197.287 mph.
  29. (34)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 196.512 mph.
  30. (32)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 196.383 mph.
  31. (00)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 195.567 mph.
  32. (72)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 193.533 mph.
  33. (51)  BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 191.744 mph.
  34. (99)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 190.446 mph.
  35. (15)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 189.663 mph.
  36. (7)  Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, 188.344 mph.
  37. (66)  Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 185.648 mph.
  38. (96)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 184.054 mph.
  39. (23)  Blake Jones, Toyota, 182.315 mph.
  40. (19)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 0.000 mph.

 

 

 

 

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 11 2018
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