Hamlin, out with a compression fracture in his lower back, was replaced by Mark Martin, who was a non-factor and had to rally for a 10th-place finish.

Hamlin has four Cup wins at Martinsville. Johnson dominated the race Sunday for his eighth win at the track.

Hamlin’s comments didn’t set well with Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus.

“I think it's pretty obvious that it's not Denny, it's the Gibbs cars,” Knaus said when asked about Hamlin’s comment. “If you look at Matt Kenseth, he couldn't get out of his own way when he was in a Roush car here, and he went out there today and was making it happen.

“I think it's probably more car than driver here for that team.”

Johnson later tweeted to Hamlin:

“Get well and we will shoot it out in the fall. Looks like we have some new company to fight it out with now. @dennyhamlin @55markmartin”

Obviously, the Hendrick teams don’t shy away from a challenge.

“Denny does a really good job here,” Knaus said. “He's fantastic at the short tracks here, Richmond, a lot of those tracks, and I hate it that Denny is hurt.

“That's not the way we want this stuff to go down. But I still think that they're going to be in the Chase and I think they're going to be in contention for the championship.”

Leave a Reply.