“Luck Is for Weak People”- Chris Gabehart Publicly Blames JGR for Denny Hamlin’s Disgruntled State in Brutal Rant

Published 10/30/2023, 5:43 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

The championship curse for Denny Hamlin continues. Following the recently concluded Cup Series race at Martinsville, the championship 4 has been decided, and Hamlin won’t be one of them. Ryan Blaney took control of a spot with the win, while William Byron claimed the last opening via his points tally. But how did Denny’s campaign go from being one of the best teams on the grid to another round of eight fumbles for him? Truly a thing of wonder.

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The #11 team’s crew chief, Chris Gabehart, has been spot-on with his strategy this season. Owing to the same, Hamlin has found himself fighting for the lead in races often. Even in Martinsville, the JGR veteran led the highest number of laps. The dominance across a major part of the race went in vain during the decisive moment for the #11 driver, and touching up on the same, Gabehart simply accepted his fate.

#11 Crew Chief Chris Gabehart shows pride in defeat

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Denny Hamlin led a race-high 156 laps. The situation was such that it demanded a heroic performance from him. Add the crowd’s dislike for him to the equation, and it becomes a high-pressure situation. However, being welcomed with jeers has never bothered NASCAR’s ‘villain’.

The 42-year-old put forth his best effort and looked like the third driver to book a ticket to Phoenix. But as per Gabehart, being put in a must-win situation like that was what imploded their plan. Speaking in a post-race interview in Martinsville, he stated,

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“Unfortunately we had another failure at Homestead last week that put us in a virtually must-win this week. We came up just barely short of fighting out of the corner and doing it again. “

Commending his crew and Denny’s efforts to make their title dreams a reality, he then used teammate Christopher Bell as an example.

“You look at the teams that have had walk-off Round of 8 wins and I’m confident you can count them on less than one hand. I mean I can think of Bell. I can think of Harvick and I can think of us. Maybe there’s one more but we damn sure nearly made it too, so I’m proud of that. “

Hamlin’s teammate Martin Truex Jr. couldn’t make the best out of his pole-winning performance on Saturday either. The regular season champion bowed out of contention for the title after a lackluster race dominated by Denny Hamlin but won by Blaney.

Gabehart dismisses misfortune claims despite Denny Hamlin losing his lead

Hamlin was the best driver on Sunday. Winning stage 1 and crossing the finish line in P2 at the end of stage 2, he was on course to win. The 4-tire change was the moment he lost the race. Following the pit stop, Hamlin had to start at 11th on the restart. Surprisingly there were no caution flags in the last 168 laps of green flag raving. That could have given Denny another shot at closing in on leader Ryan Blaney.

Reflecting on their positioning on the final restart and the role of lady luck in it, Gabehart then claimed, “It’s not luck. You make your own luck.”

” The things that happened last week, you guys are never going to know the details about it but I do. Ultimately, theres not luck in that. Luck is for weak people, the way I truly view it now.”

As the conversation continued he took responsibility for extending the Denny Hamlin curse to 2024. The crew chief also added that some things were just out of his control and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t change a thing. However, he also named the things he could have had an influence on.

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“Unless it’s a lap car you’re lapping for the 13th time, you probably shouldn’t have been behind them to begin with,” said Gabehart, being self-critical. “That’s just the way I choose to view it because those are the things I can control. I can’t control this X Factor, black cat cr*p.”

“I can control being good enough to be upfront and lead all the laps of every race and win every race. I can control not having a power steering failure last week. When I say I, I mean the team.  So, we just have to be better.

Watch This Story: Denny Hamlin from Underdog to Champion?

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Joe Gibbs Racing had a chance to send three of its drivers into the playoffs. Things not turning out as they wanted means Bell will be the only Toyota driver in the final 4 apart from the Chevys of Kyle Larson and William Byron and Blaney’s Ford.

 

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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One take at a time

Doesn't your heart skip a beat when the engines of these marvelous cars roar past you? Their breakneck speeds, paired with the robust nature of the sport, struck a chord with me. After I found a deep-rooted interest in automobile design in the early days of life, the sport piqued my interest in a jiffy. Kyle Busch and his cutthroat style of racing played an important role in getting me hooked to NASCAR as I hopped on streams to watch him win races.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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