January 20, 2011
Johnson leaving loss in the past
By DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency
NASCAR Sprint Cup runner-up Denny Hamlin says his heart-wrenching loss of the 2010 championship in the final race of the season to Jimmie Johnson was forgotten almost as soon as the checkered flag flew to end the Ford 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Talking Thursday at Cup testing at Daytona International Speedway, Hamlin said he wasn’t the least bit frustrated in the off-season.
“To be honest with you, I haven’t even thought about racing in the last month,” the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota said. “I really haven’t, not one bit. You’ve just got to move past it. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
First impressions of the new surface at Daytona ran the gamut from “wild” to “comfortable” in testing Thursday by several Sprint Cup teams.
“It is just going to be wild,” Carl Edwards, driver of the
No. 99 R Roush Fenway racing Ford, said. “The track is so smooth and has so much grip that there is no telling what people will try.”
Five-time champion Johnson said with the bumps now eliminated, the track definitely feels different.
“There’s very little driver comfort issues or drivability issues,” he said.
The grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt has hired a driving coach to help his transition to the NASCAR Camping World truck series. Former open-wheel and Sprint Cup driver Jerry Nadeau will help teach Jeffrey Earnhardt ... IZOD INDYCAR driver Simona de Silvestro and HVM Racing will formally unveil their plans for the 2011 season in Philadelphia on Monday ... Wood Brothers Racing has announced that 19-year old rookie driver Trevor Bayne will drive the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion during the 2011 Sprint Cup season. Bayne made his Sprint Cup debut last season at Texas, qualifying in on speed and finishing 17th in the race.