More mature Hamlin looking to use Pocono as '08 springboard

Denny Hamlin won his first race at Pocono in 2006, then completed the Pennsylvania sweep later that summer. And although a more mature Hamlin has changed plenty since then, Pocono could still provide a springboard heading toward the Chase, writes David Newton.

Updated: August 8, 2008, 2:11 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mounted in the billiards and poker room in the basement of Denny Hamlin's palatial Lake Norman home is a 21-year-old soccer ball with his signature copied countless times in the white hexagons.

It looks out of place surrounded by all the racing paraphernalia that makes up 99 percent of the decor.

"I got it for Christmas when I was 6, and everyone would laugh and say, 'He never plays with the soccer ball. All he does is sign his name all over it,'" ...

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