This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Denny Hamlin won his fifth race of the season Sunday at Kansas Speedway in the Hollywood Casino 400 as he works to perfect his efforts ahead of the winner-take-all championship decider at Homestead Miami Speedway. One more three-race elimination round remains for him to get there, but his performance on Sunday suggests he should make it and be one to be wary of in the finale. Hamlin led 153 laps of the 277 at Kansas and was one of the fastest machines on track from the second stage onward. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers still appear to be the ones to beat, as just three races remain to determine the final four drivers eligible to win this season's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series championship.
This week, the final three-race elimination round kicks off at Martinsville Speedway. Brad Keselowski won at the track earlier this season but was eliminated from championship contention last week at Kansas. Joey Logano is the defending winner of this race, though, and Ford drivers have won three of the last four at the circuit.
Denny Hamlin – Hamlin grabbed his fifth win in 2019 and takes extra playoff points with him into the final round of eliminations before the finale in Homestead. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was one of the fastest throughout the race and said after the finish that he couldn't wait to get to Martinsville Speedway where he has five career victories. He was fifth at the track earlier this season and hasn't