Via FedEx Racing
Denny Hamlin finished 35th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the road course in Sonoma, Calif., following an on-track incident and broken suspension, forced to retire after 98 of 110 laps in the event won by Clint Bowyer. Hamlin was spun from behind in Turn 11 while running in the eighth position, and fell back to 21st. A few laps later, the upper control arm suspension part on the left-front of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota broke, sending him to the garage for the remainder of the race. Hamlin started 16th on the 1.99-mile, 12-turn circuit, and remained in the top-20 through the first couple runs. Crew chief Darian Grubb called for track bar adjustments on the first two pit stops to help make the car turn better and improve forward bite. Following the second stop, the car came to life, and Hamlin moved up in the running order. The team made its final stop following the race’s first caution on Lap 83. Hamlin restarted 13th and drove up to eighth before the premature end to his day. The finish dropped Hamlin three spots to eighth in the NASCAR standings, now 73 points behind leader Matt Kenseth after 16 of 26 regular season races.
The Series heads to Kentucky Speedway for its second trip to the 1.5-mile oval. Hamlin finished 11th in the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at the track in 2011, a good result for the FedEx Racing team considering a post-practice engine change and last-place starting position. Hamlin battled throughout the 267-lap event on the 1.5-mile oval, working his way up the field in the early going. Moving into the top-15 by the race’s midpoint, Hamlin pitted under caution on Lap 139 for fuel and more adjustments, and as a result of the ensuing green flag run, the #11 inherited the lead on Lap 194 and led for five circuits before its next stop for service. Hamlin cycled back through in 10th place, and made his final stop with 16 laps remaining. The race’s final caution flag waved on Lap 263 to set up a ‘green-white-checkered’ finish, with Hamlin crossing the stripe in 11th behind winner — and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate — Kyle Busch
Nashville District Along for the Ride in Kentucky:
The FedEx Express ramp serving Nashville and surrounding areas has enjoyed a 23% growth in volume year over year and will be recognized with its “BNA” code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota this weekend.
Hamlin Conversation – Kentucky Speedway
How was your visit to Alaska?
“It was a great experience. I had never been to Alaska before, but got a chance to visit the Anchorage hub and there’s 1,300 FedEx employees at that hub and greeted all of them with smiles and they just had a great time. Living in Anchorage, Alaska, they don’t get to see a whole lot of racing, nor do they get to see their driver too often. So it was a very exciting time for them, and at the conclusion of that part of it, we went out in the parking lot and had some fun with some racing dogs and did some dog mushing. It was a lot of fun. Dallas (Seavey, 2012 Iditarod champion) was great to us. It was amazing to hear the conditions they go through, being anywhere from 40 (degrees) above zero to 50, 60 below zero during the Iditarod run, thousand-mile run. It’s amazing to see what they do on that side and what kind of racing they do.”
Who do you think will be the favorites heading into this weekend at Kentucky?
“I really don’t think it favors anyone in particular. I think whoever has been running well in the mile-and-a-half race tracks will continue to run well when we go to Kentucky. I think that the Michael Waltrip cars will be extremely strong. I think our cars will definitely have a shot at it. I think you’ll look at the same cast of characters and you’ll look at the top-10 from this Kentucky weekend when it’s all over and said and done, you’ll see the same names that you see on a week-in, week-out basis. I don’t think with the different tire, different surface you could have a surprise winner. I think the guys that are normally fighting for a win will be doing the same this weekend.”