Team EJP Driver Watches Bristol but Returns at Richmond; Hamlin Anxious To Get Back To Action in The NCTS Gardiner, Me. - After a solid performance in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Joe Gibbs ...
Team EJP Driver Watches Bristol but Returns at Richmond; Hamlin Anxious To Get Back To Action in The NCTS
Gardiner, Me. - After a solid performance in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Denny Hamlin is anxious to get behind the wheel and pick up where he left off. However, he took the chance to watch the annual Wednesday night brawl on the Bristol high banks this week, and how Hamlin and his Team EJP Racing teammates are preparing for their next start, that coming September 9 at Richmond International Raceway.
"I don't think we've come down from the IRP high yet," Hamlin said. "The guys have all been so pumped up about it that we wish we were back at it the next week at Nashville and then this week in Bristol. But that's not what this program is all about. We're taking it step by step to get ready for 2005. We've got the big picture in mind, and that is all about getting us ready for Daytona next February."
With a 10th-place effort behind the wheel of the Team EJP Racing No. 03 Joe Gibbs Performance/Decoma Chevrolet already in the books at IRP, the next step in the program is the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway.
"I am really looking forward to Richmond," he said. "As a driver you always wish you were in every race, and that is no different this week. We really would have liked to have been in Bristol, but it was kind of neat that I had a chance to watch as a nothing more than a fan. It's a great race to watch, that's for sure. We'll get a crack at it next year. How cool would it be to be watching it one year and winning it the next?
"I've never raced at Richmond, they stopped doing their big late model shows there just about the time I started running them, but it's a place that I have been to quite a bit. It's going to be fun to see what it looks like from the driver's seat."
Hamlin's success has already paid dividends for the young driver: Team EJP Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing have decided to expand their schedule to include events at New Hampshire International Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.
"We need to make NASCAR happy at each type of track the series goes to before we can get approval to race Daytona next February," Hamlin said. "You have to go from the short tracks to an intermediate track, and then an intermediate track to a superspeedway. The way we're trying to do this is to get that approval so we are eligible to run Daytona next February."
Hamlin and the Team EJP Racing No. 03 Joe Gibbs Performance/Decoma Chevrolet return to action in a 200-lap event at Richmond International Raceway on September 9. The event is scheduled for an 8 P.M. Eastern start, and will be televised live on Speed Channel. The race will also be broadcast on select radio affiliates of the Motor Racing Network and can be heard on NASCAR Radio 144 on XM Satellite Radio.