Posted by kryan October - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Denny Hamlin was right there at the finish line behind race winner Clint Bowyer eager for the win after chasing him down in a race that came down to fuel mileage. Denny was strong all race, but Denny’s crew chiefl Darian Grubb put together the strategy that would lead the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota to make up some points in the championship hunt.

After starting 8th, Denny Hamlin quickly worked his way towards the front with his ultra fast race car. Denny went on to lead some laps over Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. Denny clearly proved that he could win this 500 mile race on speed.

In the end, it would come down to strategy which has been a reoccurring theme in the last couple NASCAR races. Denny and Jimmie Johnson pitted for fuel during the last race caution, while Brad Keselowski and most other drivers didn’t. This allowed Denny to make it to the end on one more stop as long as he saved. Denny saved enough and made it to the end and just barely missed beating Clint Bowyer for the win.

Overall it was a great points day for the 11 team. Denny is now 15 points back from Brad Keselowski as he heads to 5 of his best tracks; Kansas, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. All tracks he has won at.

Denny’s Post Race Interview Quotes:

How did your car handle?
“We had a top-three car all day. Didn’t have the handling that I wanted most of the time, but we still had the speed to make up for it. It’s finally good to have a fuel mileage race somewhat go our way. We’ve been struggling with these things in the past, so it teaches you you’ve got to be prepared for these because they seem happy more often than not.”

Is it difficult to save fuel during the race?
“Yeah, you’re just running the race backwards basically. You’re just seeing how slow you can go and maintain your track position. It’s just these cautions are falling. I think this one was a debris caution, but it was like right where it puts everyone in kind of a weird window, and so it’s — we had to prepare for it. We did prepare for it a lot better. But it’s tough because I’m sitting there thinking, I can go by this 15 (Clint Bowyer) or catch him just about any time I want, but Darian (Grubb, crew chief) is screaming at me to back it off. As a race car driver, anyone can really save gas and be efficient with it. It’s just a matter of how close is the guy behind you and whether he’s going to pass you.”

How were you able to stretch your fuel?
“I think it has a lot to do with when the cautions fall. This time around everyone had two runs to prepare for this fuel mileage finish, so we really had one run at Dover, so that was a lot different. Obviously, the fuel mapping pace is a lot of what happens with your strategy, whether you choose to go full rich or not. But it’s just everyone ran this last 120 laps or something three-quarter throttle. Nobody was able to really push it because nobody was comfortable with where they were at with the fuel mileage. I think this big difference was that we pitted with a group with us, the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) from 10th on back with that last caution, and so it gave us a bigger opportunity to make it in those top nine cars. And so we automatically knew we were going to be close on fuel, so I didn’t see how anybody in the front group was going to make it. Really we just had 120 laps to save fuel to try to make it to the end. And so with all that time, obviously you’re able to make up a little bit more difference than you would otherwise.”

Tags : , 2012

Leave a Reply