NASCAR's Denny Hamlin rolls in to Phoenix

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By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist

PHOENIX -- 3TV's Scott Pasmore talked with race car driver Denny Hamlin Wednesday morning about the rest of the upcoming NASCAR season.

The two met up at Joyride Taco in Central Phoenix.

Hamlin is the driver of the No. 11 FedEx car.

"We feel pretty good about being part of that championship picture once we get to Phoenix and homestead here later in the year," Hamlin said.

Hamlin is in Phoenix to promote his team before heading to Chicago for the first of three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challenger rounds this weekend.

Hamlin and 1983 Indianapolis 500 champion Tom Sneva kicked off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during Phoenix International Raceway's inaugural "Breakfast With Champions" as part of NASCAR's "Chase Across North America" Wednesday at Joyride Central.

Hamlin will return to Arizona for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, the last of three Chase Eliminator rounds, November.

After that race, the field of championship contenders will be reduced to four. Those drivers will head to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title showdown.

"When we get done with the race at Phoenix, we'll have set the championship field," Hamlin told the crowd at Wednesday morning's event. "It's one of the three most important races of the entire Chase."

It will be an all-or-nothing race for the drivers are are still in the Chase.

"It's a feeling unlike any other. It's all about that one day," Hamlin said. "Knowing that it's one race, all for everything, the intensity is going to be super high."

Hamlin, a 24-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has one important win this season that vaulted him into the Chase, along with six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes this season. He has one career win at PIR, in the 2012 Subway Fresh Fit 500TM, along with eight top-fives and nine top-10s.