NASCAR At Pocono 2012: Denny Hamlin Says 'The Success We Had Here Is Gone'

To Denny Hamlin, Pocono is a brand new racetrack.

As Hamlin predicted two weeks ago, the repaving of the 2.5-mile triangular track has removed any advantage the driver of the No. 11 Toyota might have had at one of his favorite venues.

So for Hamlin, who won two races at Pocono from the pole in his 2006 rookie season and added one victory each in 2009 and 2010, it's just like starting over.

"The success we had here ... is gone," Hamlin told the NASCAR Wire Service after the morning session of testing on Thursday. "It's kind of a reset. You're not going to be able to look at any notes from previous [races] and race winners and try to predict a race winner for this thing.

"Strategy's going to be huge. Track position is going to be big. Of the test guys, you could probably put anyone in the top 20 out front with 15 laps to go, and no one's going to catch 'em."

Speeds have increased dramatically during the first two days of testing at the "Tricky Triangle." All 41 cars in Thursday's afternoon session were faster in race trim than Kasey Kahne's 2004 qualifying record of 172.533 mph.

Coincidentally, Kahne posted the top speed during testing -- 179.490 mph -- turning a lap in 50.142 seconds, more than two seconds faster than his 2004 record time.

"With the corner speeds being so much slower with the old surface, you didn't get off the corner as well," Hamlin said. "Everyone is shifting [gears] now, and your shift points have moved around dramatically. Obviously, that's been shortened up.

"It's just a big test session right now, trying to figure out what makes speed at this race track, what you have to do, because, really, you drive it totally different than what you used to."

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.