Tha Sports Junkies 101

Hamlin Looking for New Hampshire Season Sweep



9 short weeks ago, Denny Hamlin won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire. It ended a 22 race losing streak for Joe Gibbs Racing. Fast-forward to now, and the 11 team is looking for the Loudon season sweep.

Since New Hampshire got a second race date in 1997, only 2 drivers have won both races in the same season. The Loudon sweeps went to Jimmie Johnson (2003) and Kurt Busch (2004). 2017 is likely the last year this feat will be possible since Loudon’s Playoff race is moving to Las Vegas in 2018.

Hamlin’s Chances

In 23 starts at ‘The Magic Mile, Hamlin has 3 wins, 9 top 5s, 14 top 10s, and 549 laps led. He is one of 5 active drivers with 3 Loudon wins. His team at Joe Gibbs Racing also has 10 wins in New Hampshire. Las Vegas odds-makers have Hamlin’s chances for winning this weekend listed at 6-1. Only Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch have better odds.

If Denny Hamlin wins this weekend, he will automatically transfer onto the next round of the Playoffs. In 3 prior seasons of an elimination-style Playoffs, Hamlin has always survived Round 1.

The 11 team will also regain their crew chief this weekend. Mike Wheeler was on a 2 race suspension due to the encumbered finish at Darlington. The stars appear to be lining up for the 11 team to have a strong showing in Loudon.

Perhaps one of the most unforgettable moments of the season happened in Loudon’s victory lane in July with Hamlin. He was scared to hold the race trophy, a live lobster, later admitting to having a fear of lobsters.

While Truex and Busch may have more speed than anyone in the garage, look for Denny Hamlin to be a strong contender this weekend. The flat surface and track layout of New Hampshire Motor Speedway play right into Hamlin’s wheelhouse. His experience on short tracks such as South Boston Speedway is a great advantage for Loudon. This time next week we may just be talking about the 3rd ever New Hampshire season sweep.