by Matt Lincoln
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It did not take long for Denny Hamlin to start looking towards next season.
In an awkward few moments, both Hamlin and Kevin Harvick were forced to sit and watch Jimmie Johnson's celebration in the media center following Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Chesterfield asked if it could be turned off, but media officials let it run, so that newspaper reporters could hear what Johnson was saying. While Harvick looked like he couldn't care less, Hamlin was transfixed to the screen.
Hamlin might as well have been taking notes. After it was over, Hamlin noted that the 11 team would take the lessons from the 48 team and use them for next year.
The most important lesson - not to have any recurring mistakes. Hamlin said he must improve his qualifying runs as a driver. He also said the team must be better at saving fuel mileage (with an obvious notation of the second to last race of the season in Phoenix.)
While Hamlin certainly was not content with a second place finish this season, the only time of his post-race press conference that he seemed to perk up, was when he talked about his eagerness to get going for 2011. When you're this close to a championship, it dawned on Denny just how many little things could have factored in giving him the win, instead of Jimmie Johnson. Now instead of being the man who stopped the five-peat from happening, he has to be the man who stops the six-peat.