|Denny Hamlin has been playing the Chase game beautifully|
Surprise. Hamlin is tied with Joey Logano (ranked first due to more wins) atop the Cup points standings and Kenseth is fifth going into Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Toyota has just two wins this season (one each by Hamlin and Kyle Busch) after 14 a year ago. Kenseth, with seven victories, battled for the Cup until a troubled run at PIR.
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Four months of intensive work by Toyota Racing Development's team of 100 engine specialists produced improvements for the start of the Chase. Busch was the most competitive of the three drivers but an accident at Talladega Superspeedway eliminated him. Kenseth won the pole last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
TRD President David Wilson admits his drivers have been "frustrated" with engines that were "too conservative" in quest of better reliability. He said that changed at Chicagoland Speedway, the first of 10 Chase races.
"After the first practice session all our drives had big smiles," Wilson said. "They told me they had performance they needed to win races."
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