Posted by kryan February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

via FedEx Racing

Hamlin at Daytona

Denny Hamlin was in prime position to make a run at the checkered flag in the Daytona 500 before a lap 198 incident collected the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, causing extensive damage and a 21st-place finish. Hamlin was drafting with Ryan Newman in the outside groove down Daytona’s backstretch when Regan Smith was turned across the track and in the path of Newman and Hamlin. The #11 Camry — which led seven laps late in the race — incurred damage to its nose, and the repairs on pit road put the FedEx team a lap down to the leaders for the two ‘green-white-checkered’ attempts.

Hamlin Headed to Phoenix
Hamlin and the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota head to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) this weekend, the one-mile desert oval that caused so much pain and heartbreak one season ago. The #11 team headed to PIR last November holding a 33-point lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings and were the car to beat throughout the race, leading 190 of 312 laps. However, a pit stop for a splash of fuel with 10 laps remaining — when the other race contenders could make it the distance — caused a 12th-place finish, turning a near-insurmountable points lead into a scant 15-point advantage heading to the season-finale in south Florida.

The April race at Phoenix in 2010 brought literal pain to Hamlin, who was just 10 days removed from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Hamlin turned in a gutsy performance, finishing out the race even after mechanical issues put the #11 car a couple laps down, driving to a 30th-place result.

Hamlin is making his 12th Cup Series start at Phoenix on Sunday, and has five top-five finishes to his credit at the track. His best result of third has come four times, most recently in Nov. 2009. He also recorded third-place runs at April 2008, April 2007 and Nov. 2006. The 30-year-old captured the pole position in his first Cup race at PIR in Nov. 2005 — in just his sixth series start — the year before he earned ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors.

Houston’s “HOB” Along for the Ride in Phoenix
The Houston FedEx Service Center located at Hobby airport (HOB) provides award-winning service and achieved 18 of 20 metric points en route to winning the FY10 ‘People Service Profit Compass Excellence Award’ and improving eight of nine year-over-year metrics. In recognition of their achievements, “HOB” will be riding on the #11 FedEx Freight B-post this weekend in Phoenix.

Easy LTL Shipping
The #11 FedEx Freight Toyota will carry a special paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix. The familiar “FedEx Freight” on the rear quarter panels will be replaced with “Easy LTL Shipping,” as FedEx promotes its new, streamlined LTL (less-than-truckload) freight shipping service, with one network, one-source pickup and delivery, and with one carrier in both FedEx Freight Priority and FedEx Freight Economy shipping options.

Hamlin Conversation – Phoenix:

What is the key to getting around Phoenix?
“For me, the key to being fast at Phoenix is how you brake getting into the corner. It’s a tricky place to get around, but I have found that if I set my car up good getting into the corner, we get so much more speed getting off the corner and down the straightaways. I really like racing at Phoenix and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it reminds me a lot of the places I raced when I was growing up. I spent my early career running flat tracks in Late Models and this track feels like that to me. It’s flat and requires you to be really good with your setup if you are going to be quick through the corners.”

Will you be sad to see the track repaved after this race?
“I will be disappointed to see the old surface gone. I’m the type of driver that loves worn out race tracks, and Phoenix is one of them. Right now, it’s pretty much a one-groove race track, so passing is tough, but it really puts things in the drivers’ hands. They say they are going to reconfigure the track a little bit to get two grooves of racing, so we’ll have to see when we come back in November. I want to get the last win on the old surface and I think we have a good shot at it.”

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