Continued from page 1

Hamlin needs a repeat performance this Sunday. The engine woes that have plagued Joe Gibbs Racing through the first five races of the year hit Hamlin hard last week at California, when his failed midway through the race. His 39th-place finish cost him four spots in the standings, and he goes into Sunday ranked a disappointing 21st.

But he won’t be concerned about his position unless Sunday is a bust for him.

“Martinsville spring race always seems to be the springboard for our season,” he said. “Whenever we have struggles for the first five races or so, Martinsville falls that fifth or sixth race of the season for us, and that’s when we hit our momentum.

“We’re looking to (Martinsville) to be the one that kind of sets our season in motion. Hopefully it’s no different this year.”