Posted 09/22/2012 at 04:50 PM
Denny Hamlin completed the rare triple sweep during practices this weekend at New Hampshire by being the fastest in all three sessions. Hamlin's fast lap at 132.053 mph in the last half of the final 60-minute session was good enough to pass teammate Joey Logano for the top slot.
There is no cash reward or trophy for being fastest during the sessions, just the peace of mind knowing that none of the 42 cars are as fast. For Hamlin, dominating the practices couldn't have come at a better time because of the pressure he placed upon himself following a disappointing Chicago race by tweeting, "This is 1 week of 10. We will win next week." So far, so good.
Hamlin will have to start Sunday's Sylvania 300 from the 32nd position because of an error in the qualifying setup Friday, but should have no problem making up the ground. We've seen him do well on the similar flat tracks this season at Richmond and Phoenix, and in the July New Hampshire race, he led 150 laps and finished runner-up.
Not surprisingly, the top speeds during Saturday's practices came from the Toyotas when every driver from the teams of Michael Waltrip and Joe Gibbs Racing finished in the top seven. In the four races this year at Richmond, Phoenix and New Hampshire, three were won from a driver within those stables.