Via FedEx Racing
Denny Hamlin dominated Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leading five times for a race-high 150 laps at the ‘Magic Mile.’ However, a pit road miscommunication during the event’s final caution dropped Hamlin from the lead to 13th for the ensuing restart, where the 31-year-old driver marched through the field only to come up one position short, finishing second to Kasey Kahne.
Hamlin had the strongest car throughout the event, and looked poised to win his third race of the 2012 season. The final caution came on Lap 235, and crew chief Darian Grubb planned a two-tire stop. Hamlin and Grubb discussed the strategy, and after Hamlin radioed that he wanted grip, Grubb audibled to a four-tire change.
Unfortunately, the majority of lead lap cars opted for two tires, moving Hamlin deep in the running order for the restart. Putting on an impressive display of driving for the final 62 laps, Hamlin picked off positions on a charge to the front. He ran out of laps in the end and crossed the finish in the runner-up position.
“It’s tough to give one away like we did today, but I can’t hang my head,” said Hamlin. “This FedEx team gave me an awesome car and we dominated for most of the day. Darian and I had a little miscommunication on pit road, but that happens from time to time. It was fun to drive up through the field at the end of the race, but we came up just a little bit short. I’m excited to come back here in a couple months for the Chase because I know we’ll be strong again.”
Hamlin started third and was comfortable in that position for the opening run. After taking the lead on Lap 72, the #11 machine was out front for 149 of the next 163 circuits.
The finish moved Hamlin up to spots to fifth in the NASCAR standings following New Hampshire, now 79 points behind leader Matt Kenseth after 19 of 26 regular season races. The Series will take a weekend off before returning to action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29.