Denny Hamlin admits he will have to wait another year in order to fight for his first Sprint Cup title after electrical issues hampered his progress in an eventful race at Martinsville.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver endured a tough afternoon. He weathered two pit-speeding penalties to get back in contention at the front of the field only to succumb to an apparent issue with the master power switch 107 laps from the end.
"It ended in disappointment, but we overcame the pit road penalties and things like that and just had a great car," said Hamlin. "Just when these things happen you've just got to suck it up and move on.
"There's nothing I could do about it. So, one of these days it's going to be our time, it's just not going to be right now."
Hamlin's recoveries from his two speeding penalties, which forced him to restart from the tail-end of the lead-lap cars, showed he had the speed to contend for a victory that would have boosted his title hopes. Instead, his 33rd-place finish means he now trails Chase leader Jimmie Johnson by 49 points in the standings. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who led at the start of the playoff series thanks to his four victories during the regular season, claims he will now relax and enjoy the rest of the year.
"Just have fun – that's all I can do," said Hamlin. "Just go out there and be relaxed and enjoy this championship battle that's shaping up. It's a shame we can't be a part of it, but we're going to try to work our way as far up in the points as we possibly can and just keep digging."