Posted by kryan September - 17 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Via FedEx Racing

Denny Hamlin passes Dale JrAn unfortunate miscue on pit road left Denny Hamlin without enough fuel to make it to the finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, with the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota running out on the final lap to finish 16th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup opener.

Hamlin made his final pit stop of the day from fourth place with less than 40 laps remaining, looking for an adjustment to help tighten up the car while receiving four fresh tires and a full tank of gas. However, the FedEx crew was so quick on the stop that the fuel tank wasn’t full when Hamlin pulled away. Crew chief Darian Grubb informed Hamlin that he was four laps short of making it, forcing him to conserve the rest of the way, finally running out just before taking the white flag. He coasted to the finish line in 16th place behind race winner Brad Keselowski.

“It’s a disappointing start to the Chase, but it’s only one race out of 10,” said Hamlin. “I’m encouraged because I know that we bring fast cars to the track each week and I have a chance to win pretty much everywhere we go. We win as a team and lose as a team, so I can’t hang my head. My crew has been fast all year long and I will stick behind them. We will be better because of it.”

Hamlin started eighth and ran in the top-10 throughout the 267-lap event on the 1.5-mile oval. Battling a loose condition on corner entry, Hamlin and Grubb worked together to dial in the #11 machine. They got the car at its best just before the final stop.

With the finish, Hamlin is fourth in the Chase standings following Chicago, tied with Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer after the first of 10 playoff races. They trail leader Keselowski by 15 points. Jimmie Johnson is second, followed by Tony Stewart.

The Chase resumes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 23.

Tags : , 2012

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