- Denny Hamlin
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Here we are at Martinsville, one of my favorite tracks and a place where we really thought we'd have a good shot in qualifying, but it's raining, again, and qualifying has been canceled. This season has been wild -- qualifying has been canceled nine times! So, they are going to line us up by points again and that means we'll start 12th on Sunday. That's not bad, but with as hard as it is to pass here, and with as well as we've qualified here in the past, we really would have liked the chance to qualify.
Martinsville is a home track of sorts for me. Being from Virginia, we always followed racing at Martinsville, and I even raced Late Models here before making the move up to the Nationwide Series and then into the Cup Series. There was a huge Late Model race here every fall. I raced in it five times and wanted nothing more than to win it. I sat on the pole here in 2003, and those days of racing Late Models here are still some of my best memories. To come back here last year and win the pole in a Cup car, with so many friends and family members, and a lot of fans who have supported me for years here, was awesome. Then to win here and take home the grandfather clock meant everything. It went right to my parents' house in Richmond seemed right that for all the times we talked about winning a clock while I was growing up in that house that it should be there.
Rain at the racetrack is terrible. Anyone out here will tell you that there aren't many places worse to be than at that track when it's pouring out. It's hard on everyone because all anyone wants to do is get to work -- whether it's the drivers, crews, officials, etc. And it's tough for the fans because they want to see the cars on the track on Friday for practice and qualifying. You wish the rain would stop just for those people who have been waiting in the rain all day. No one wants to have to make the call to cancel everything and send everyone home.
In other news, I wanted to let you know we are auctioning off a raced No. 11 FedEx car this week as part of our "Slow Things Auction." Starting this Sunday, the actual car I raced at Daytona will be up on eBay, and all of the proceeds are going to a great cause in St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. We took the engine out to keep you from getting into trouble, but left most of the car intact -- though a little beat-up -- just as it left the track that night last year. It finished 43rd, and that's just not good enough for me and the No. 11 team.
Denny Hamlin drives the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry. He shares his weekly thoughts on and off the track with ESPN.com readers with the help of writer Angelique S. Chengelis.