Gardiner, Me. - Denny Hamlin enters the Sylvania 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway with one goal in mind: to keep the momentum of his first two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts rolling. Hamlin, driving the No. 03 Team EJP Racing ...
Gardiner, Me. - Denny Hamlin enters the Sylvania 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway with one goal in mind: to keep the momentum of his first two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts rolling. Hamlin, driving the No. 03 Team EJP Racing Chevrolet, is on a developmental program with Joe Gibbs Racing, and right now the goal is to make as many laps as he can.
"Our goal in Loudon is to run 200 laps," Hamlin said. "If we can stay on the lead lap, we'll have a pretty good finish. We've done that the first two races we've run in the Trucks, and we're going to work hard to keep that momentum going."
Hamlin has no experience at the flat one-mile oval, and has spoken to several of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates to get some input on how to attack the tricky track.
"All I know about New Hampshire is what I have seen on TV," he said. "I have raced it a lot on the computer, but I've never been up there. I talked to some of the JGR guys and they tell me it is a lot like Martinsville. It's bigger, meaning the straights are longer and the corners are wider, but you drive it pretty similar. I have always run good at Martinsville, so hopefully some of that knowledge will transfer over."
With the series in Hamlin's backyard last week, it now travels to the far Northeastern part of the country, which is within shouting distance of the Team EJP Racing shops in Gardiner, Maine. Hamlin says two "home court" races on back-to-back weekends is not a problem for him.
Team EJP Racing is the only team running in any of the three nationally touring NASCAR series to be based in Maine. The majority of the team is from the area, and they started their racing careers at the ultra-competitive short tracks in the Northeast.
"I don't put any extra pressure on myself to run good when we are running at home, or in this case, the team's home," Hamlin said. "We always want to run good, no matter where we are. We gave Indianapolis the same effort we gave at Richmond and will give at Loudon, and that is all you can ask. Hopefully we can run all 200 laps and give all the people the team will have there watching a good show."
Team owner Steve Prescott is anxious to see how Hamlin performs at New Hampshire.
"We have always run very well up here at New Hampshire," Prescott said. "Whether it was in Busch North or now the Trucks, we have always been competitive up here. Having seen Denny run the first two races for us, I think he'll fit right in at New Hampshire. I know the guys on the team are looking forward to it. They all have a lot of friends and family coming to see them, and they all want to give everyone a good finish."
The Sylvania 200 from New Hampshire International Speedway will be televised live this Saturday on Speed Channel. The race will also be broadcast live on selected radio affiliates of the Motor Racing Network, and can be heard on NASCAR Radio 144 on XM Satellite Radio.