Posted by kryan July - 26 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Via FedEx Racing

Loudon Lookback

Hamlin at IndyThe FedEx Racing team played the fuel strategy game to perfection in the most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 17), overcoming early track position, a mid-race spin and an ill-handling race car for a hard-earned, third-place result.Denny Hamlin restarted third with 56 laps to go on the one-mile oval and worked into second behind leader Ryan Newman as both were trying to conserve fuel to make it to the end of the 301-lap race. Hamlin saved enough gas to take the checkered flag third behind Newman and Tony Stewart, who passed the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota with less than 10 laps to go. Hamlin started 14th and battled a loose race car early in runs on the relatively flat New Hampshire track. Giving up a few positions on restarts while waiting for the car to come around, Hamlin battled back in traffic to maintain pace in the top-15. Differing tire strategies by teams on pit road shuffled the #11 between 10th and 20th through the race’s midpoint, with crew chiefs and drivers jockeying for important track position. Shortly after a restart on Lap 167, a chain reaction led to contact to Hamlin’s left-rear, sending him spinning in Turn 2, and collected by another car just as the incident settled. Luckily, the damage wasn’t significant and Hamlin restarted 32nd, before slicing his way back through the field into the top-20 when a caution for debris came out on Lap 216. Hamlin pitted one lap later for air pressure and track bar adjustments — his final stop of the day — with instructions from crew chief Mike Ford to conserve fuel. The adjustments brought the car to life, and as the #11 machine worked into the top-10 and many of the lead lap cars came to pit road during the final two cautions on Lap 226 and 241, Hamlin found himself in third on the Lap 245 restart and saved enough fuel to make it to the end. The finish kept Hamlin 10th in the NASCAR standings following New Hampshire, 82 points behind new leader Carl Edwards.

Brickyard Bound
Following the final off-weekend of the 2011 season, the Sprint Cup Series shifts to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for Sunday’s Brickyard 400. Hamlin is making his sixth career IMS start Sunday in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry. The 30-year-old Virginia native has two top-10 finishes in five previous events at the 2.5-mile oval, with a career-best third-place run 2008. That year, Hamlin and the #11 team endured – and successfully managed – the nearly untenable tire situation at Indy to score a well-deserved top-three result. Leading for a total of 26 laps during the two stints that brought the field to the final competition caution, Hamlin exited pit road third and was unable to catch eventual winner Jimmie Johnson or runner-up Edwards. Last year, the FedEx team battled through a pair of early unscheduled pit stops after grass clogged the #11 machine’s grille and sent water temperatures soaring. Fighting to regain track position throughout the event, Hamlin found himself with fresh tires on the final restart on Lap 149 and charged towards the front to salvage a 15th-place finish.

Phoenix District Along for the Ride in Indy
The FedEx Express district in Phoenix won the Dispatch Circle of Excellence Award seven times in FY11, and will be recognized with its “PHX” code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota this weekend.

Hamlin Conversation – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

What will it take for you to get that first win at Indianapolis?
“I think we’ve shown at Indy that we have what it takes to win there and the team really builds great cars for this track. It’s a track where JGR cars have won before and a track that I really like from the driver’s seat so we go there feeling like we can unload fast, get better in practice, and compete on Sunday. To win here you need the car, the driver and the crew all at their best, and then have a lot of things go your way. We have had our share of issues at Indy, but if you take those away there is no reason we can’t run up front.”

What are your chances of winning the Sprint Summer Showdown?
“Obviously, I’m very excited about the Sprint Summer Showdown and going for a million bucks for a fan. These next five races include some very good tracks for this FedEx team, places that we have won at before — Pocono and Michigan — and Indy and Bristol, where we have been really close. Also, I love road course racing and we showed in Sonoma that our road course cars are pretty fast, so Watkins Glen is another one we have a chance to win. For the guys that win these next five races, and I hope I’m one, Atlanta is going to be an awesome event. This is the part of the schedule where people are really focusing on getting those good finishes to make the Chase, but with the new ‘wild card’ system and now the Sprint Summer Showdown, it will be all about wins. I love it.”

Tags : , 2011

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