Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano have each been solid at the start of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Hamlin, now has five top six finishes through nine races. See, that stat could really be even more.
Hamlin, was running well inside the top 10 in the closing stages at Las Vegas before having an unscheduled pit stop inside of 20 laps-to-go. Then, in Martinsville, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver had late contact with Kevin Harvick when the Stewart-Haas Racing driver brake checked Hamlin, and he’d have to settle for a 12th place run as a result. At Texas, he was involved in a crash not of his doing while running inside of the top 10. Last week in Bristol, he was in the top 10 again before having a loose wheel.
That’s why Saturday night’s third place finishes are key to his success. He should have a top 10 finish in every race this season. That shows the strength that his No. 11 Toyota has. But, they’re just not strong enough to be ahead of all of the incidents.
See, Hamlin is fast, but not fast enough to win. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are in classes all by themselves with winning seven of the nine races thus far. Hamlin, well he could be categorized as in the next class of Cup drivers right now.
That’s in turn hurting him a bit.
Nevertheless, Hamlin earned his sixth straight top six finish at Richmond in the Toyota Owners 400.
Also, Joey Logano is in that class with Hamlin. He brought his No. 22 Ford home fourth on Saturday night. That was Logano’s eighth top 10 finish in nine starts in 2018. Logano, even led 92 laps and won the first two stages of competition. But, he faltered in the end, like every other race has gone in 2018 for him.
The speed is there, but it’s not good enough. Same as Hamlin.
They’re both in the same category.