(Left to right) Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs congratulates Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, on Monday after Hamlin's fifth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 and third at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)Because the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono was postponed from Sunday until Monday because of rain I couldn’t watch it live, on TV, from the comfort of my home. Since I was at work, I casually kept track of what was happening by using ESPN’s race widget in between doing work and sitting in meetings.

Once the race was over and I found out that Denny Hamlin had won I was stoked. Really, I was happy for him more than anything just because it had been what, 58 races since he’d last won a Sprint Cup race? So yes, this was a big deal, and like I’ve said before, I like the Denny. :)

It wasn’t long after I learned of Denny’s win that I received a text message from Tara, a young woman from Arizona who reads my blog and is one of the biggest Denny Hamlin fans around. She even won tickets to a race at Phoenix by professing her reasons why Denny is her favorite driver. Tara told me that she watched the final laps of the race while having lunch at T.G.I. Friday’s with her grandmother.

“I was seriously crying my eyes out,” said Tara. “Me and my grandma were holdin’ hands like the last 5 laps and cheerin’. You celebrate your drivers’ victories, and you share their sorrow. I’m so proud of my driver, no matter what. And I always will.”

Last night I finally saw Denny’s tearful Victory Lane interview and I couldn’t help but cry myself. Tara’s words added extra impact, because now I was finally seeing what she had seen and so I totally got why she was crying in the middle of T.G.I. Friday’s. :)

It’s easy for people to say, well of course you’d be emotional if a family member passed on, but I think we all know people out there that aren’t like that. While I was happy for Denny for the win, and the fact that I’m sure his grandmother was looking down on him with pride in that moment, it just made your heart break to see his emotion. His relationship with his grandmother and his mother obviously means the world to him.

You don’t see drivers crying in Victory Lane that often, and I think Denny should be praised for feeling his emotions and letting them out. I don’t want to get all “New Age-y” and stuff but it’s true. Too often boys are told to hold their emotions in, “Be a man,” and not let things out. That’s the worst thing, you have to feel what you’re feeling if you’re ever going to move on and grow as a human being. So I respect Denny for that. It was clear that even before the race started his grandmother’s death weighed heavy on his heart, and I just appreciate his honesty in explaining where his head was at that entire weekend and during the race itself.

Frankly I think it makes his win that much more interesting, how you can win with all of that in your head is just amazing to me. If you take out all of the emotions, it was a great race period, he made an awesome move on Clint Bowyer in those late laps.

So, congratulations to Denny and the No. 11 FedEx team on a much deserved win. My heart and condolences go out to Denny and his family.


(Left to right) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, grabs Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Old Spice Swagger Chevrolet, as the two joked in the Pocono Raceway garage Friday before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

I bet this was the result of Tony refusing to wear a “Chad is Rad” T-shirt, in honor of Jimmie’s crew chief Chad Knaus. :)

(Left to right) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, grabs Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Old Spice Swagger Chevrolet, as the two joked in the Pocono Raceway garage Friday before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Left to right) Raybestos Rookie of the Year Contenders Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, and Scott Speed, driver of the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota, meet the media on Friday at Pocono Raceway during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 race weekend. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Uhm, I’m sure they’re BFFs. :)

(Left to right) Raybestos Rookie of the Year Contenders Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, and Scott Speed, driver of the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota, meet the media on Friday at Pocono Raceway during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 race weekend. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

A Jimmie Johnson fan takes a picture of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars as they roll out from the garage and onto the track Saturday during practice at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. for Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The littlest Jimmie Johnson fan! So cute.

A Jimmie Johnson fan takes a picture of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars as they roll out from the garage and onto the track Saturday during practice at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. for Sunday’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray and AJ Allmendinger walk through the garage after the drivers meeting for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray and AJ Allmendinger walk through the garage after the drivers meeting for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sunday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)