NASCAR Playoffs driver Denny Hamlin will start at the rear of the field after his car failed pre-race inspection before Sunday afternoon‘s NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 elimination race at Martinsville Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of the five-time Martinsville winner failed pre-race technical inspection twice. Hamlin was set to start third, but will drop to the back of the 38-car field before the Xfinity 500.
“It’s just kind of a roll-your-eyes moment,” Hamlin said. “It’s like … can we just have a nice, smooth day? That’s all I want is just a nice, smooth day. Last year here, we dominated the race and then didn’t tighten all the lug nuts on the left-front, so I just want to be able to control my own destiny. That’s it.”
The JGR driver is currently on the good side of the playoff bubble, up 32 points from the elimination line. The postseason field will be trimmed from eight title-eligible drivers to four after Sunday’s race, and Hamlin is seeking his third consecutive Championship 4 appearance.
Hamlin shared his Halloween costume on social media Saturday, taking a page from Post Malone with a NASCAR -themed get-up. The temporary face tattoos were gone by race-day morning, but he kept a bear tattoo on the top of his left hand.
“Knowing I’ll have to start in the back, the bear stays,” Hamlin joked.