Hamlin: We can win at Dover

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. – Despite the disparity between Denny Hamlin’s record at Dover and that of Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin isn’t planning to fight a holding action in Sunday’s AAA 400.

Hamlin recently has turned to sports psychologist Bob Rotella for guidance, and the result is a more aggressive attitude toward the track Hamlin freely admits is his worst in the Chase.

Hamlin has a 20.5 career average finish at the Monster Mile, a far cry from Johnson’s 8.9. But Hamlin took encouragement from the first Cup practice session, during which he posted the third fastest single-lap speed among 48 drivers.

“Obviously, the outlook that I’m supposed to have was not to look past this weekend and want to get over this weekend,” Hamlin said Friday between practice sessions. “It’s to optimize this weekend and treat it as one we can win at. Until my speeds slow up, and my car slows down, I’m going to treat it like I can win this weekend, just like any other track.

“I’m not going to look forward. I’m just going to stay concentrated on this weekend, trying to do the best I can, knowing in the back of my head that every track from here on out, we’ve won at or been very, very good at year after year. Instead of doing damage control, I’m going to treat this weekend as being on offense instead of defense.”

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