2022 is like “being the coyote bringing the anvil down on your head” – Hamlin

Denny Hamlin used the most direct analogy possible to describe how frustrating his NASCAR Cup Series season was:

“Honestly, it’s just been week after week that I’ve been the coyote knocking the anvil on its head,” Hamlin said. “I don’t even know how else to explain it.”

Despite a victory at Richmond Raceway last month, Hamlin is 23rd in the standings. Since Richmond, Hamlin hasn’t finished in the top 10. The No. 11 team gave Hamlin fast race cars and he led laps – it was just much harder to get the results.

Last weekend at Dover Motor Speedway, Hamlin knocked a wheel off pit road as the leader. Midway through the rebound, fourth-placed Hamlin suffered damage when he was clipped by Cody Ware as he spun down the running track.

“Even after the wheel fell off, I think we came back to about 10th or 12th or something in the middle of a race and I said, ‘If we don’t do that [expletive] from here we’re going to go around the field, Hamlin said. “Like that [car] is just amazing. My cars were very fast. Las Vegas – I had the best car and was leading until I missed a shift. It’s just a lot of things that certainly kept us and our outcome from looking like it should.

“I’ve noticed and my team doesn’t need to convince me how strong we are or how good we can be, but I’m [23rd] in points – and that’s before last week – and Chase [Elliott] is in the lead. We have a better average running position in the race than Chase and we are 23 [places] different in points. So our performance, when we’re not in Martinsville with a 30th place finish, has been really good all year; we just had things that broke.

Hamlin said he had more mechanical failures this year than ever before. Some are beyond the team’s control with the new car, and Hamlin said NASCAR continues to work to develop better parts and parts.

“But we’ve kind of been the poster child of breaking things,” Hamlin said. “And then last week, what can I do? #51 sped there, and I just didn’t get around it without hitting it. It’s unfortunate, but I can tell you it’s a lot different running 10th every week and trying to figure out how you’re going to get enough speed to win. That’s what would really worry me. »

Hamlin admitted his team dropped points in the regular season. They won’t be pushing to try to get into the top 10 in the standings to be among the drivers who get extra points heading into the playoffs. The goal now is simply to get points in the playoffs.

“When you see the peloton start to split because they want stage points or whatever, you know where No. 11 is from now on,” Hamlin said. “We are trying to get five points at the end of the race (for a win) and two for the playoffs during the stages. It actually simplifies our strategy for the regular season.

After pausing his season, Hamlin’s misfortune continued in qualifying at Darlington Raceway. Running 22nd fastest, Hamlin signaled that something was wrong with his car as it was making a squealing noise and losing power. The team is still diagnosing the problem, and any changes or repairs would result in Hamlin leaving the back of the field.

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