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May 06, 2014 - 03:30 PM
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The First Reid: Hamlin's Surprising Win At Talladega Unsurprising
Posted by: newsla on May 06, 2014 - 03:24 PM
The First Reid: Hamlin's Surprising Win At Talladega Unsurprising

Denny Hamlin’s victory in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway was a surprise.

Then again, it wasn’t.


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If you’re trying to pick a winner for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race at a restrictor-plate race track, Hamlin probably wouldn’t head your list.

After all, there are plenty of more likely candidates, based on past performance. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray come to mind immediately, and that’s just for starters.

That doesn’t mean Hamlin hasn’t run well in plate races. On occasion, he has. He just hadn’t managed to win one—until Sunday.

On that basis, you could call Hamlin a surprise winner at Talladega.

But in no way, shape or form, is it surprising that Hamlin has picked up a victory in the first 10 races of the season. In handicapping probable race winners—and hence, probable participants in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup—Hamlin would have been on everyone’s short list before the season started.

In fact, it would have been better than even odds that all three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers—Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth—all would have qualified for NASCAR’s playoff.

So don’t look at Hamlin’s victory at Talladega as a shocker. It wasn’t. Just congratulate the driver of the No. 11 Toyota for expanding his resume.

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