RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Emporia’s Elliott and Hermie Sadler have been watching throughout the rise of Chesterfield native Denny Hamlin’s racing career.
“When we were racing at Cup and he was a little younger than us and he was running the short tracks in Virginia, I mean, he was winning everything,” Elliott Sadler said. “We knew he had the talent. When he got hooked up at Gibbs and got in that Busch car and went to Darlington that first time and ran up front, from the very beginning, he’s had it. And it’s good to see him sustain it.”
Hamlin certainly has, winning six races and entering the playoffs in second place.
Although a late mistake dropped him to 13th in the opener at Darlington, Hamlin is still in excellent shape to chase down Kevin Harvick for the title.
“They’re that one step above everybody else,” Hermie Sadler said of Hamlin and Harvick. “So, as a friend and as a fellow Virginian, I hope that this is the year that (he wins).”
Only Junior Johnson has more career wins without a title than Hamlin’s 43.
“He’s only going to be judged on if you win that championship,” Hermie Sadler said. “And so that’s all he’s got left, really, is the next notch in the belt.
“He’s got just as good an opportunity or better this year than he ever has.”