It looks as if Denny Hamlin is back and ready to rumble.

After many weeks out of the seat due to a back injury in March at the Auto Club 400 in California, Hamlin has come back to the FedEx #11 Toyota with fire. He started the race at Talladega for points purposes but was out at the first pit.

The next event at Darlington he drove the full race and finished second then went to a sixth place at the All Star race.

Now, for the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte he has qualified on the pole with a track speed record. (more…)

Where did they have it tucked away over the weekend?

The speed, that is…

Wednesday practice at Daytona was showing several cars running above 197 mph. A couple topped 198…

It is interesting as the qualifying topped in the midway over 196. Danica Patrick snagged the pole with a lap of 196.434. Wednesday, Michael Waltrip pushed his Toyota 2mph faster.

Does this point to pack running with a draft, weather, gravity, lunar phase, the price of oranges…? Does this point to immediate trouble for Patrick to hold that position or is this an indicator for this new Gen-6 car in a pack race over single run qualifying?

We probably won’t have to wait long. The Budweiser Duals will likely give a better indication than the Sprint Unlimited from the weekend.

The season, the pressure, the questions and the price of oranges are all on the table for the Daytona 500.