Tag Archives: Fred Lorenzen

From Junk to Gold, Denny Hamlin Wins the Chase Race at Chicagoland

The first NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup race is in the record books. Denny Hamlin has won the myAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway capping off a weekend that didn’t start out the way it was intended.

On Friday, the number eleven FedEx Ground Toyota hit the track for the first practice full of hope but unable to get out of its own way. Dave Rogers, Hamlin’s crew chief, made wholesale changes to the car prior to qualifying. Qualifying was canceled due to rain and his troubles in that one practice were magnified because the field was set by practice speeds. Denny Hamlin would have to start the race today 29th, the last of the Chase drivers.

Rogers said, “We did have a lot of adversity.  You know in the Chase you’re going to have adversity, it’s going to strike.  We’ve been talking about it, been trying to mentally prepare for it.

In Saturday’s practices it was apparent that the team was able to fix whatever was wrong with the No. 11. Hamlin was the second fastest in the first practice and seventh fastest in the final practice. A great improvement but he still had his less than desirable starting position to contend with.

Indeed, his starting position became a problem right from the start. On lap two, the No. 47 AJ Allmendinger car got into the right front of Hamlin’s car, sending him for a spin. He was able to save it and not get hit by any other cars so there was little or no damage. He did go a lap down.

On lap 130 just after a restart on lap 128, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin used strategy to try and get their laps back by staying out and not pitting. This was a risky strategy given the lack of caution flags in the beginning of the race and record pace the leaders had been setting. That strategy paid off on lap 137 when Kevin Harvick hit the wall hard after cutting down a tire; this put both of them on the same pit strategy and tires with the other lead lap cars.

There was a caution flag with ten laps to go and Hamlin’s team had confusion whether to pit or not. He ended up staying out, what at the time looked like a disastrous move. Denny Hamlin restarted third and drove it like he stole it taking Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon three wide. It stuck and he held them off for the three laps even though he had older tires.

It was ballsy, but I’d been stuck so many times three-wide in the middle. The front cars almost have a disadvantage to the back cars the way it all plays out.”  Hamlin added “We got a great restart and I just held it wide open through (turns) one and two and it stuck. We were able to get in that clean air and take off.

Denny Hamlin has tied Chicago Area Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen for 27th on the all-time wins list with 26 wins.

Carl Edwards finished second followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.

Denny Hamlin has now punched his ticket straight to the next round of the Chase, The Contender Round. The team can now use the next two races to continue to get better for the next two rounds.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 312813 Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images

Which NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Has the Most Wins for Ford?

Ford has been involved in NASCAR racing since it’s the beginning.  The list of drivers who have won in a Ford is a who’s who of NASCAR racing. Ned Jarrett won the first Championship for Ford and also outpaces all ford drivers with 43, in what is now the Sprint Cup Series, wins.

79 drivers have won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race under the Ford nameplate. There have been eight series championships for Ford since NASCAR began competition in 1949, but Ned Jarrett captured the first in 1965.

When I learned that I had won the championship and was the first one to win it in a Ford, it made me extremely proud,” said Jarrett, who drove a Ford Galaxie to that initial championship.  “I grew up in a Ford family.  My dad had a farm and a sawmill and a Ford car and Ford trucks.  When tractors came out, he bought a Ford tractor, so I was pretty well married to Ford.  I grew up in them, and when I learned I was the first driver to win a championship, I was beside myself.  I felt better after learning that than I did about winning the championship to start with.  It’s just a great feeling.

The championship, which was Jarrett’s second overall, came in dominating fashion as he won 13 times and posted 42 top-five finishes in 54 starts.  His marquee victory was undoubtedly the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, which he won by a record 14 laps.

Bill Elliott has won 40 races in a Ford and to some might have been on the top of the list of Ford winners.

Photo Credit:  Ford
Photo Credit: Ford

I was honestly surprised when I learned that I was the driver that had won the most races in a Ford,” said Jarrett, who has 43 Ford wins – three more than second-place Bill Elliott. “I was very proud of that record as well.  It’s hard to put into words how something like that makes you feel, especially when you were a Ford guy growing up.

Jarrett was recognized with the Spirit of Ford Award in 2003, which is the highest honor in Ford Performance. The award goes to someone who has made significant contributions on and off the track to the sport of auto racing.”

Newer NASCAR fans might have put Mark Martin or Ned Jarrett’s son Dale Jarrett on the list of the most wins for Ford. Their wins of 35 and 30 fall short of Ned Jarrett and Bill Elliott’s record of 43 and 40 wins.

Although this is about Ned Jarrett, David Pearson won 29 races in a Ford and 43 in a Mercury. Rounding out the list of Ford wins are Junior Johnson and Fred Lorenzen at 26 wins each. Matt Kenseth has 24 and Rusty Wallace 23.

Ned Jarrett Remains Ford’s All-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Wins Leader 50 Years After Winning First Championship

If you want to watch a video of Ned Jarrett follow this link http://youtu.be/vWYfVkyzR0o.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit:  Ford