BROOKLYN, Mich. – Denny Hamlin feels his fortunes are on an upswing, and he had reason for optimism even before he took the green flag in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
On Saturday afternoon, Hamlin outdueled William Byron in a side-by-side race to the finish line to take home the trophy from the Irish Hills 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. On Sunday, he backed that up with a satisfying fourth-place run in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at the 2-mile track.
Hamlin was 10th for a restart on Lap 155 of 200 but worked his way forward over the final 45 laps, which were punctuated by three additional cautions.
“Really good car,” Hamlin acknowledged after the race. “Everything we needed to do we did. Had one little hiccup on pit road, but for the most part, we ran really well all day, had good speed in our Camry and pretty happy.”
The result was Hamlin’s second-best of the season, eclipsed only by his third-place run at Richmond in late April. More important, Hamlin believes he’s close to getting his first win of the season—and the first season victory for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I mean, you keep battling in the top-five and eventually you’ll have your chance.”