Hamlin: "I don't think I could have done a better job"

Denny Hamlin's pursuit for that elusive Cup title will continue into the 2020 season.

Hamlin: "I don't think I could have done a better job"
 Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express
 Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express
 Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Light, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
 Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry

Hamlin's dream 2019 season ended in disappointment Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway after an overheating issue shattered his championship hopes.

After an unscheduled pit stop, he would finish tenth, last among the four contenders. 

Read Also:

"I don't know. It's tough to say," said Hamlin when asked if this is his toughest title loss yet. "I feel like I did all I could, so probably not. I mean, I don't think I could have done a better job. I don't think I could have ‑‑ I didn't leave anything out there. So for the first half of the race we just weren't fast enough, we weren't handling very good, and all of a sudden it went nighttime and we took off, and suddenly I perked up and got a little more and was thinking that we've got a chance.

"Then just didn't work out. Definitely, like I said, last week, I was going to come in here and do the best I could and live with the result either way. I definitely feel like I couldn't have done anything different.  Certainly we got a little aggressive there, and it cost us, but I mean, he's also been really aggressive and won us races, too.  It's just he's going for it. He saw an opportunity there to really add some speed to the car, and it just didn't work out."

Hamlin was running second to eventual race winner and champion Kyle Busch when the No. 11 started to push water and he was forced back down pit road under green.

"Obviously if you have to come back down pit road, it's pretty much over. But even ‑‑ I think we had nailed ‑‑ with the other two guys running long on their strategy, we were going to be second no matter what, and just a stone's throw from the 18.  So a caution could come out, we've got the No. 1 pit stall.  We can beat them off pit lane. There's always an opportunity until the checkered falls, anything can happen.

"I don't think it's a do‑or‑die moment, but I think it was an opportunity that Chris saw to ‑‑ we came one lap earlier, we wanted to catch everyone off guard there. We did it. I didn't get to pit road clean because the 34 kind of was coming off pit road and I had to check up. It didn't matter because we added too much tape anyway.  But he just ‑‑ he was going for it, and I don't fault him for that because I've gotten really fast cars because he goes for it every single week."

Despite Sunday's defeat, Hamlin still has plenty to smile about after a season that saw him win six races including the Daytona 500.

"Yeah, I told you at the beginning of the week we're going to celebrate our year. Our year was fantastic in every way you can think of, and it just didn't pan out in one race in our favor.  You know, I don't know about those guys. I talked to them briefly before the race, but I don't know, I just ‑‑ right now just got to gather all the thoughts and think about everything."

Read Also:


shares
comments
Truex: "One mistake probably cost us a shot at it"

Previous article

Truex: "One mistake probably cost us a shot at it"

Next article

Harvick's title hopes rested on trying "something different"

Harvick's title hopes rested on trying "something different"
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for 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 Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020