Hamlin: ‘We have a race-winning-car’ despite runner-up finish

Denny Hamlin came just short of victory in Saturday’s 325-miler at Pocono Raceway.

Hamlin, who already has three wins this season, was hoping to extend Joe Gibbs Racing’s streak of wins at Pocono to six, but fell one position short in the end to race winner Kevin Harvick.

“The only thing I kind of saw, I probably should have ran the bottom there coming to the white,” he admitted. “We were making some good time on the bottom. I overthunk it, thought he was going to try to go down there.  I ended up running his line and messed up.  That’s about it.

“I thought I optimized my lap time that whole run. I think we ran him down from four or five seconds, something like that, on the same tire strategy, on the same lap.  Just didn’t work out.”

Hamlin came within a few tenths of Harvick in the closing moments of the race and believes the car was capable of winning.

“We don’t need anything. We have a race-winning car, just finished second today,” he said.

While trying to track down Harvick, Hamlin was also battling a vibration on his No. 11 Toyota Camry.

“It was bad, it was like someone loosened all the nuts on the car. It was unfortunate. We got there and we came there from a long way back and had a strong FedEx Camry. With about 15 or 20 (laps) to go, the vibration just got really, really bad and still would have been tough to pass him (Harvick), even though we got there, it was going to be tough to get around him. Our car was extremely, extremely fast. Optimistic for tomorrow’s race for sure.”

Hamlin will start 19th Sunday as the lineup is based off of Saturday’s results with the top-20 finishers inverted.

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