NASCAR: Is the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Just What the Doctor Ordered for Denny Hamlin?

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin just loves to drive in Richmond. His record on the track there is pretty sweet. So, is this trip to Richmond for this Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 going to help him out this season? Let the NASCAR Cup Series driver’s tale of the tape set some concerns to the side. Hamlin did not like what went down at Atlanta Motor Speedway and made no bones about it, either.

NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Ready To Change His Path At Richmond

So far this season, as you can tell, Hamlin is putting up a lot of 0-fors in wins, top 5 finishes, and top 10 finishes. Add this to boot: His average finishing spot in 2022 is 24th. Yikes. That’s not the driver so many fans know and love. Let’s turn our attention to the Richmond numbers and those are through 30 starts on the track. He has three wins, 15 top 5s, 19 top 20s, and an average finishing place of 8.8.

We’re going to go ahead and say that Hamlin will get back quickly. Who knows? It might be the spark that he needs for the rest of the season. Imagine posting his first victory this Cup Series season at Richmond. He’s hoping that a repeat of what happened in Las Vegas will not happen this Sunday.

Atlanta Finish Haunted Hamlin A Whole Lot and Blamed Himself For Issues

But let’s spend a minute about his response to his finish at Atlanta in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. “We had a really fast FedEx Camry,” he said, according to Sports Illustrated. “I was just trying to help Kyle (Larson) there and I just needed to let him go off turn four.” Hamlin said the Atlanta Motor Speedway gets light there and the car starts to lift up.

He adds “and that’s where I needed to back off of him and I just didn’t and spun him out.” Hamlin said “it is a shame” as to what happened in the race.

“Our car was really fast,” Denny Hamlin said. “We definitely slowed after the first part of the damage; we were involved in that first wreck.”

This early season has been problematic, to say the least, for Hamlin. He is putting the blame on himself. “I’m just making some bad decisions,” Hamlin said. “It’s easy in retrospect to say I should have done this, and I should have done that, but in the moment, you are trying to battle for some stage points there and we’ve got good grip, and I’m pushing him, and everything is going well and then all of a sudden the car lifts up and he’s gone. Just split-second decision making.”