Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Associated Press
DOVER, Del. - Could it really be true love between Denny Hamlin and Dover? His performance Sunday will really determine the fate of this relationship.
SUNDAY’S NASCAR SPRINT CUP RACE
WHAT: AAA 400
WHEN: 2 p.m.
WHERE: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (oval, 1.0 miles).
DISTANCE: 400 miles, 400 laps
TELEVISION: ESPN, 1 p.m.
LAST WEEK: Denny Hamlin won at New Hampshire. Johnson was second.
1. Jimmie Johnson, 2,096
2. Brad Keselowski, 2,095
3. Denny Hamlin, 2,089
4. Tony Stewart, 2,086
5. Kasey Kahne, 2,081
6. Clint Bowyer, 2,081
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2,070
8. Kevin Harvick, 2,065
9. Greg Biffle, 2,063
10. Martin Truex Jr., 2,062
11. Matt Kenseth, 2,061
12. Jeff Gordon, 2,051
Trying his best to adjust his approach toward his least favorite track, Hamlin's reignited courtship produced fantastic results Saturday when he turned a lap of 159.299 mph to win the pole at Dover International Speedway.
Hamlin has been open in his disdain for the 1-mile concrete oval and knew he'd have to conquer his Dover demons to keep his driven bid for his first career Cup championship rolling along.
Hamlin, third in the points standings, turned to a sports psychologist for advice. The message for Hamlin was this, "Let your challenge for the week be to fall in love with this track."
Hamlin says the good karma, and a great No. 11 Toyota, all played a part in the turnaround.
"I think that right now we have everything rolling," Hamlin said. "That part of it is giving me a ton of confidence."
Hamlin is six points behind Brad Keselowski and seven points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson starts 11th as he chases history at Dover. He raced his way into the track's history books in June with his seventh win on the concrete, matching the mark held by Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison.
NATIONWIDE: Joey Logano dominated on the concrete to win the Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del.
Logano raced to his series-leading victory of the season Saturday, winning for the 16th time in Nationwide. Paul Menard was second, followed by Michael Annett, points leader Elliott Sadler and Kyle Busch.
Logano swept the Dover races this season. He powered his way to the lead with six laps left in the June race.
This win was easier. He led 184 of the 200 laps in the No. 18 Toyota. Logano moved into a tie for 16th on the on career victory list in the second-tier circuit.
"My monster trophy from last time was lonely and needed a friend," Logano said. "I'm glad I was able to get one for him."
Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 12th after winning the pole earlier in the day.