To fully appreciate the Sylvania 300, be sure to check out tomorrow's Globe. Bob Duffy will have a story on Mark Martin, possibly racing at NHIS for the last time as a Cup driver. I'll have a story on Cup drivers and the demands they face away from the track.
Notes as we await this afternoon's truck race:
* Denny Hamlin, profiled in today's Globe, wasn't even a full-time Cup driver during the 2005 Sylvania 300, when he and J.J. Yeley were auditioning for the No. 11's seat. But when Bobby Labonte vacated the No. 18 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing decided to put Hamlin in the No. 11 and give Yeley the Interstate Batteries ride. "With the troubles the 11 had last year, that was a driver audition for me," Hamlin said. "I guess you could say I won that."
* In more shameless self-promotion, we're glad to report that Globe photographer Matthew J. Lee's picture of Hamlin's pie-covered face (courtesy of Kevin Harvick) in today's paper is drawing serious attention at NHIS. Harvick signed a copy of the sports section for Hamlin, while the rookie's representatives are trying to track down a copy for their driver.
* Jon Howland, DeWalt's director of marketing, calls Matt Kenseth the perfect driver to represent the power tools manufacturer. "If we wanted a spokesman, we would have hired Michael Waltrip," Howland said. "He's got a ton of time to talk about the Napa brand because he doesn't make a lot of races. That's why we align ourselves with Matt."
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