AVONDALE, AZ – Denny Hamlin leaves the ISM Raceway in Phoenix with a 13th place finish. But, his No. 11 Toyota carries home battle wounds from a Lap 268 crash that left the Joe Gibbs Racing driver feeling remorseful.
See, Hamlin took the blame for the crash that also ended Kurt Busch’s championship hopes. Hamlin, made a daring move to try to get to the lead in Sunday’s Can Am 500 and his car got bad loose in Turn 2. Unfortunately, when he got loose, he was already under Busch. His car got into Busch’s and sparked a big crash on the backstretch.
“We had an opportunity there and I think the (Erik Jones) got together there and going into the corner I got underneath and it looked like I got loose, I thought I got hit, but nobody was near me,” Hamlin said of the incident. “I got loose and I chased it up the race track and (Kurt Busch) was right there. Then it looked like he hit the wall and I was up there and kind of pinched him and then hit the wall again. It was not going to be good. He kind of turned us then, but I can’t blame him, Kurt’s been fair to me in so many years of racing. I’ve never had one incident with him, he’s been as fair to me as anyone out there and I hate it for him because trust me, I was rooting for him – all of today I was rooting for (Busch) to be the guy that got in there. Ultimately we have to go out there to try to race to win and we were battling hard off the corner. Just ran out of real estate for sure.”
Hamlin, heads to Homestead with a 45 race winless streak. He has won at least one race every year of his Cup Series career. If he doesn’t win next Sunday, the second longest streak in the sport today will come to an end.