Published on June 15th, 2010 | by Michael J Smith0
Denny Hamlin Is Rolling, But Jimmie Johnson Is Lurking
Denny Hamlin’s recent dominance, winning five out of the last 10 races, has many thinking (or perhaps hoping) that he will be the one to keep Jimmie Johnson from his fifth consecutive championship. Hamlin sits third in driver’s championship points, 123 ahead of Johnson, who currently sits sixth in points. Hamlin is 47 points out of first place.
Anytime a driver wins five races in a 10-race stretch, it’s easy to consider him the favorite to win the Sprint Cup Championship. At the very least, some say, Johnson has reason to be worried. Hamlin looks to be hitting his stride, while Johnson has been relatively quiet.
But, wait…not so fast. We’ve seen this before.
In 2008, during the 10 race span from the Best Buy 400 NASCAR race at Dover International Speedway to the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International, Kyle Busch won five races. And, up until the Watkins Glen race, he had a total of eight wins, compared to Johnson’s two.
Also in 2008, Johnson was 254 points behind championship points’ leader Kyle Busch after the Michigan race. But, Johnson went on to win five of the last 14 races, while Busch didn’t win a single race during that same span. Busch imploded and Johnson walked away the champion.
In 2010, Johnson is in better position to repeat than he was in 2008. Up to this point in the 2010 season, Hamlin has three fewer wins than Busch did in 2008, and Johnson has one more than he did in 2008. Johnson is also 170 points out of the lead in 2010 as opposed to 254 out at the same point in 2008.
Hamlin has been rolling, there’s no question about it. But Johnson hasn’t exactly been a slouch. He’s posted six top 10s in the 10-race span in which Hamlin’s won five, and this is allowing him to lurk around the points’ leaders, which we all know is dangerous come the start of the Chase.
Hamlin appears to be strong now. But, we can’t count Johnson out of it just yet. Not by a long shot.