Denny Hamlin says he'll use this week's suspension of his crew chief as motivation to prove his car can go fast "no matter what." Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Darian Grubb and car Wesley Sherrill were both suspended through the Sept. 6 race at Richmond. Grubb, the crew chief, was also fined $125,000.
Team engineer Mike Wheeler will fill in as the crew chief. It strips Hamlin of two vital crew members during the stretch of the season he would be putting the finishing touches on preparations for NASCAR's title-deciding, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Speaking Friday at Pocono Raceway, Hamlin says the punishment could be a positive because Grubb can spend more time at the shop working on cars. Hamlin says of Wheeler: "I'm pretty confident that he's going to do a good job and really I'm not concerned with any of his experience with handling people."