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Mixed Results For Hamlin, Keselowski In Charlotte

Denny Hamlin’s relationship with Charlotte Motor Speedway has seen its rough patches but has trended upwards in recent seasons.

Hamlin posted top-10 finishes in his first two trips to Charlotte in 2005-06. But after another top 10, the Virginian went through a dry spell – five finishes of 16th or worse – before posting a fourth-place finish in the fall of 2010, Hamlin’s “near-miss” title year.

He’s riding a four-race top-10 streak highlighted by his second-place finish in May’s Coca-Cola 600.

Hamlin’s Charlotte Driver Rating (89.3) is fifth-best among active drivers.

For Chase leader Brad Keselowski, the 1.5-mile track is a work in progress. Keselowski will start just his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup race at a track on which he has one NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. His numbers aren’t great – 21st best Driver Rating (76.8) and average finish of 16.5. He won the Coors Light Pole for last year’s Coca-Cola 600.

Keselowski, however, has proved to be a quick learner. He knocked down his first top-five finish (fifth) in May’s race.

Keselowski has been a model of both speed and consistency. A 30th-place finish at Bristol in August is his only placing outside the top 10 in 14 consecutive races – a streak that began June 30 with a victory at Kentucky Speedway.

By emerging largely unscathed from Talladega’s final-lap chaos, Keselowski became the first in 2012 to lead the Chase in back-to-back weeks. With a seventh-place finish, he increased a single-point lead to 14 over Johnson and 23 over Hamlin.

The leader after four races has gone on to claim the championship five times in the Chase era.

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Posted by on October 10, 2012. Filed under Breaking News,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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