News & Media

The smallest of parts ruins Hamlin's day

October 29, 2012, Seth Livingstone, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Faulty master control switch effectively eliminates No. 11 team from Chase hunt

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- With the millions of dollars teams invest in hopes of winning the Sprint Cup championship, it's amazing that the smallest of parts can stop a team dead in its tracks.

That's what happened to Denny Hamlin on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. A faulty master control switch caused Hamlin's car to lose power on Lap 372 and eventually stalled his car completely in the middle of the track on Lap 393.

Hamlin, a contender all race, had led 12 laps and was running third when the failure occurred. Not only did it result in a 33rd-place finish, it all but eliminated him from Chase contention with only three races remaining.

"Bad luck," summed up Hamlin. "It's frustrating, but you can't put the blame on anyone for this. We overcame pit road penalties and things like that. When these things happen you've just got to suck it up and move on. There was nothing I could do about it."

Hamlin's misfortune left Jimmie Johnson to battle Kyle Busch for the victory in the closing laps and enabled Johnson to wrestle the Chase lead away from Brad Keselowski.