Posted by kryan June - 27 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Via FedEx Racing

Denny Hamlin led 12 laps early in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the Infineon Raceway road course in Sonoma, Calif., but contact from a competitor midway through the 110-lap event caused damage to the #11 FedEx Toyota that eventually led to a broken left-rear track bar mount, extensive time in the garage for repairs and a 37th-place finish.

Hamlin looked strong early on, moving from his fourth-place starting position up to the lead by Lap 6. Staying inside the top-10 through the first round of green flag pit stops, the car seemed to be one that could contend for the victory.

However, Hamlin was hit from behind by A.J. Allmendinger in Turn 11 on the 1.99-mile road course just past the halfway point, causing damage to the left-rear of his machine. At first, the damage appeared minimal, but after a few more restarts and turns on the tight, technical track, Hamlin radioed to crew chief Mike Ford that something was wrong with the rear of the #11 car.

He came to pit road so the crew could assess the damage, where they discovered a broken left-rear track bar mount, and instructed him to the garage. After lengthy repairs, Hamlin returned to the track 10 laps down to the leaders and he eventually took the checkered flag in 37th to race-winner Kurt Busch.

“It was obviously a frustrating finish after such a promising start,” said Hamlin. “We had a fast car at the beginning of the race, and got up there to lead some laps. These road course races come down to strategy most of the time, and I think we were on a pretty good one until that contact. It’s unfortunate for this team, but we can only move forward.”

The finish dropped Hamlin two spots to 11th in the unofficial standings following Sonoma, now 110 points behind leader Carl Edwards. The Sprint Cup Series returns to action at Daytona International Speedway on July 2.

Tags : , 2011

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