Denny Hamlin isn't afraid to give praise when warranted, and that is kind of what he is giving to Kyle Larson, who put on a dominant performance Sunday in Las Vegas.
The win was not only big for Larson, but it also locked him into the Championship 4 at Phoenix. Hamlin is well aware of what that means. He knows that Larson has quickly become a favorite for the title; and during his new episode of "Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin," he laid out the fact that Larson might have the advantage to win the championship.
Hamlin attributes that advantage to the two races still left in the Round of 8. Larson can focus pretty much everything on the final race of the season and not have to worry about points or flirting with elimination as he did in the Round of 12.
"What that means when some say — and you'll see it a lot this week — Larson's got an advantage, they'll talk about Larson having an advantage because he can now shift his resources and thoughts into Phoenix," Hamlin said. "What that basically means is that he's going to spend extra time — instead of doing a bunch of work for Homestead, and meeting with his crew chief about Homestead this, Homestead that, how can we do this, what's our strategy — they'll shift their focus into, 'What do we need to do to run well and win at Phoenix?' You know, while it's a very, very small advantage, it is still an advantage."
Hamlin is right. There's no question that Larson is in the driver's seat after winning the first race of the Round of 8 at Las Vegas. Joey Logano won that race in 2022 enroute to the championship. Larson might be in the right spot to capture his second Cup title.
The favorites for the title have changed a lot throughout the playoffs, but one thing has remained the same: This title hunt will likely come down to the four drivers who have been strong throughout the season — Larson, Hamlin, William Byron, and possibly Martin Truex Jr., if he can build off his first top 10 finish of the playoffs at Las Vegas.
Will Hamlin's thoughts hold true about Larson having the advantage? Things will start to become clear after this weekend's 4EVER 400 at Homestead-Miami.
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