Hamlin vows to improve for 2011

NASCAR Sprint Cup runner-up Denny Hamlin believes the 2010 season brought massive improvement to his team, but believes there's plenty of areas where he still has to maximise his potential as he looks forward to challenging for the title again next year

Hamlin vows to improve for 2011

Hamlin led the championship entering the final race of the season, but an early incident with Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle proved pivotal to his title hopes. Despite recovering later in the race, he was unable to prevent Jimmie Johnson from claiming a fifth consecutive series title.

Leaving aside the disappointment of losing a possible first NASCAR title, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver believes his team made huge strides during the 2010 season.

"I got better as a driver, but we got better overall as a team," said Hamlin. "For me, all I can ask is to show up at a race track any given day and feel like I can win a race, and this year I did that at every track I went to. The flip side of it is to have a championship slip away so close."

The 30-year-old believes his ability and speed to be on a par with Johnson, and reckons that mainly circumstances played into the final outcome of the title battle. At Phoenix, the penultimate race of the season, he seemed on course to his ninth with of the season before fuel strategy became a factor and hampered his chances of arriving at the season finale with a safer points cushion to Johnson.

"I don't feel like we got out-driven," Hamlin said. "I don't feel like Jimmie was just a better driver and that's how he won the championship. The strategy kept us from winning the championship. I did the best that I could, and that's all I could do.

"Phoenix is his best race track and we dominated it until we had to pit. For me, we did a really great job of stepping up to the plate. It's just, unfortunately, our ball hooked foul instead of going fair for a home run in the end."

Hamlin says qualifying and short runs are two areas he has improve looking ahead to 2011, while he also sees plenty of room for improvement within his team on the technical side. As he looks back on his season he says his group can feel proud of what they achieved in their fifth full season together.

"There are several parts of our car and parts of our team that we can improve on, and that's a good thing because of how competitive we are right now," said Hamlin. "I know I need to get better in qualifying. I said that last year at this time. There's lots of things that I could do to be better and there's lots of things we can do as a team to be better. So my focus is what I need to do to execute all of those things.

"I've got to work on my outright speed on the short gos, on restarts," Hamlin said. "Those are the things that I've got to get better at and as a team I'll debrief with them and tell them the things that I feel like our cars need to be better at in the future. I can assure you we're going to hang our heads high because we came close this year. We had a great year - it was just a little short at the end."

Next year Hamlin will return behind the wheel of the #11 JGR Toyota Camry joinning Kyle Busch and Joey Logano in the youngest team line-up in the NASCAR Cup field.

shares
comments
Drivers praise new Daytona surface
Previous article

Drivers praise new Daytona surface

Next article

The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season review

The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season review
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021