NASCAR Championship Race at Homestead: Denny Hamlin forced to give best pit stall to teammate Kyle Busch
Hamlin refused to give future teammate Martin Truex Jr. the preferred spot last season
Denny Hamlin may not be competing for a NASCAR championship but he's certainly doing his part to help his teammate. Hamlin, after, elected to give the heavily desired last pit stall to his teammate and Championship 4 contender Kyle Busch.
The move comes as a bit of surprise, as Hamlin chose to keep alliance driver and now-future Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. away from the last stall after Hamlin won pole last season. It didn't prove to be an issue for the No. 78 team, as Truex went on to win his first career title. Truex, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick are the other three drivers competing with Busch for the title this year.
"Ultimately, it's an upper management decision," Hamlin said of the move in an interview with the Associated Press and NBC Sports. If the roles were reversed, I think we would hope for the same thing. I think that's the thing that sucks about it. You can't predict what will happen in the future, but we would expect the same thing back."
Regarding the decision to keep Truex from the top stall last season, Hamlin told Jeff Gluck of JeffGluck.com that "everything is earned" and "nothing is given" however in this case, Hamlin was forced to be a company man.
Hamlin isn't just racing for pride at this point either. If he fails to secure the checkered flag on Sunday, he will have completed the first season of his career without a trip to Victory Lane. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is also riding a 50-plus race winless streak and has never gone a full season without a win.
Fortunately for the No. 11 team, Hamlin is a two-time winner at Homestead despite never winning a title.
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