|Hamlin's spring strategy still a hit topic|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 22 October 2010 13:38|
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) - Denny Hamlin created a stir at Martinsville Speedway in the spring, restarting ninth with four laps to go and bullrushing his way to the front.|
New tires helped make it possible, and raised questions about strategy for Sunday.
Tony Stewart said Friday it's too early to tell what his plan will be on race day.
``I think we'll know more tomorrow in practice and seeing how they fall off and seeing how our cars handle,'' he said, noting that crew chiefs will study lap times during practice.
``They'll know what the pace is and when they start falling off,'' he said.
Hamlin said the victory was the best of his career, but he's not sure he'd do it again.
``Even on new tires, I had to put myself in three-wide positions and things like that to win the race,'' he said. ``Not sure that taking tires this time around is what I would do, but it just really depends on how many laps to go. ... We definitely kind of overcame a lot.''
First, he hugged the inside into the first turn, forcing three-wide racing, and plowed his way into fourth before teammate Kyle Busch spun out, bringing out a very timely caution.
Ahead of him, Jeff Gordon was poised to cross the start-finish line and take the white flag, but when the yellow flew before Gordon got to the line, a two-lap sprint was required.
Hamlin had one more power move to make, pushing Ryan Newman out of the way on the restart, then watched as Matt Kenseth and Gordon dueled. Both eventually slid up the track on older tires, creating room for Hamlin to sneak by on his new rubber for the stirring win.
MY GUYS, YOUR GUYS: Clint Bowyer said he's being a team player in letting Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick use his pit crew while he's in title contention.
Bowyer's team is thought to be the strongest in the three-car RCR stable.
``We owe it to everybody involved - all the employees - to try to bring that championship back home,'' Bowyer said, adding that he broke the news to his team himself on Tuesday.
He will be using Harvick's team, and is sensitive to their feelings.
``The ones that it is hard for is the guys that have been with (Harvick) all year long and with five races to go you turn your back on them - that's who it is hard for,'' he said.
But he has big plans for the displaced crew now working for him.
``They're the guys that I plan on winning this race with,'' he said.
WELL WISHES: Kasey Kahne was introduced as the newest driver for Red Bull Racing on Friday, less than 48 hours after he and Richard Petty Motorsports agreed to part ways.
Kahne said he hopes rumors that RPM is in trouble prove untrue.
``It's just speculation,'' he said. ``I think it's a lot of talk. For me, I certainly hope that RPM keeps rolling. I hope that they finish out this season and put together another great season next year. That's what I want them to do.''
Kahne will drive the No. 83 car Sunday and compete for Red Bull for the last five races of this season and all of next year. He will move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
Red Bull General Manager Jay Frye said bringing Kahne aboard five races ahead of schedule amounts to a headstart on getting the team ready to compete for the 2011 championship.
Frye said Red Bull plans to have two cars next year, and disputed talk that the team has already decided to release driver Scott Speed, who is 28th in points this season. Red Bull also employs Brian Vickers, who had heart surgery to remove blood clots in July.
Frye said the team is monitoring Vickers' health and Speed's performance.
END QUOTE: ``If I had to throw down a choice on this year's Chase, am I sentimentally rooting for the Shell-Pennzoil car? Maybe I am.'' - Penske driver Kurt Busch, whose Miller Lite car will sponsored by Shell next season.
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