It’s been a rough go for Denny Hamlin, but he has two reasons for optimism. For one, a race at Charlotte awaits on deck. Two, his finishes aren’t as bad as they may look.
First, Charlotte. Hamlin’s last top five came at Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600, where he finished fourth. That finish was the latest in a string of six consecutive top-10 finishes at Charlotte, the last three of which were fourth or better (including runner-ups in two of the last three). Hamlin has scored a Driver Rating over 100 in each of the last three races, and over 90 in each of the last six.
So good news may come soon, and night’s stop couldn’t come at a better time. Some of his best runs of the year have come at intermediate race tracks – even those that have fallen during this current slump. At Kansas, Hamlin finished 23rd, but had a strong average running position of 12.3. At Chicagoland, he finished 33rd, but had an average running position of 16.1. In other words, his finishes are a tad misleading.
Over the last five races, his average finish is 21.8. His average running position during that span: 14.0.