Late cautions doom Denny Hamlin in Sprint Cup title finale


Once again, Denny Hamlin experienced championship heartbreak at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Four years after he lost the Sprint Cup title in the season finale to Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin battled hard but came up short with a seventh-place finish in today’s championship-deciding Ford Ecoboost 400.

For a while, it appeared that the Virginia native would be the one hoisting the Cup in the end. He was at the front of the field several times, and assumed the championship lead with 20 laps to go when he stayed on the track during a caution.

But two more yellows in the final 15 laps allowed Hamlin’s title rivals to catch up. With seven to go, Kevin Harvick took advantage of the four fresh tires that he got in the 20-to-go caution to take the race/title lead from Hamlin, and eventual runner-up Ryan Newman passed him for second before the final yellow came out with six laps left.

That set up the last restart with three to go, but Hamlin was unable to mount a challenge Harvick and Newman before fading out of the Top 5.

Afterwards, Hamlin was comforted by his crew, as well as basketball icon Michael Jordan, whose sponsors Hamlin through his Jordan Brand (credit to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck for the clip):

View this post on Instagram

Michael Jordan comforts buddy Denny Hamlin. #NASCAR

A post shared by Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) on

His crew chief, Darian Grubb, took the blame after the call to leave Hamlin out did not work:

When he faced the press, Hamlin said the “last breaks” just didn’t go in his favor.

“I thought our car really came into its own as soon as it went dark, and I thought we had the best car, and we just struggled with restart speed,” he explained. “Kind of the theme of the year, just struggling with – we don’t have the all-out speed that those guys have, and with that, it put me in some tough spots on restarts.

“I gave up a position to Harvick there with 20-some laps to go, and Darian tried to make a call to make that back up and leave us out there on tires, and obviously we were sitting ducks as long as cautions kept coming. We were able to jump out and get the lead, you know, had a decent lead, and just the cautions didn’t go our way.”

Carrying a much looser demeanor than he did going into his last duel with Johnson for the 2010 title, Hamlin quickly moved into the Top 5 from eighth on the grid.

From there, he was able to stay in that bracket for the rest of the race with the help of a strong car and great pit work from his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing crew.

Hamlin had toiled with a relative lack of power compared to his Chase rivals, but tonight, it was clear that there were a few more ponies in his Toyota engine.

With that and his crew’s efforts in mind, Hamlin said that he was proud of what they were able to bring to Homestead and that he wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“We brought a car that was capable of winning,” he said. “I just don’t know how to express it enough. Sometimes, breaks go your way, sometimes they don’t…There’s not much else we could have done with the strategy that we played with the cautions that came out.

“I think we overachieved greatly by being here, and we haven’t had the speed to compete for race wins all year, and we did today, on the race that really mattered. Just came up short.”

Perhaps filled with peace of mind that he and the 11 camp gave it everything they had, Hamlin posted the following statements on his Twitter page this evening:

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

Women in SuperMotocross: Jordan Jarvis knows how tough it is

The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

Women in SuperMotocross Ashley Fiolek is building community

Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”