With two races to go in the 2010 season, Denny Hamlin and his fans probably felt like they had arrived. And then the wheels fell off at Phoenix and it feels like Hamlin has been trying to get his feet back under him ever since.
Hamlin is a wheelman, there is no doubt. He tied with series Champ Brad Keselowski for the most wins last season with five. The deal is, he always seems to have a rough patch in the chase. For a while, it was the start. And then in '10 it was the end. Last season a rough middle stretch took him out of contention.
But Hamlin has what I think is the most important ingredients to winning a championship other than talent, a top tier crew chief. Darian Grubb won a championship with Tony Stewart in 2011 and if you don't think he is one of the best, if not the best in the garage area. Just look at what he did with Casey Mears.
Hamlin goes into 2013 with a definate plan on how to get to the championship.
"We need to win at least six to seven races," said Hamlin. "We feel like that's where we need to be this year. And we need to fill up the stat column with the proper amount of top fives and tens you need to win a championship."