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FedEx Racing Involved in Late Race Incident at Kansas

May 11, 2015

Denny Hamlin finished 41st in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway after hitting the outside wall when the left rear tire blew on the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, following contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr. on lap 200 of the 267-lap event won by Jimmie Johnson.

“The racing got real tight in turn two on the restart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved up on me and I got in to Sam Hornish Jr.,” said Hamlin, following the incident. “We came in and changed right-side tires and I thought the FedEx car was going to be okay, but the left rear gave out on us and I couldn’t keep it off the wall.”

Hamlin started 13th and battled a tight car from the start, only managing to move up to 12th by lap 95 when he pitted under caution for four tires and fuel. During the caution, inclement weather moved in and the race was halted for over two hours after a rain shower blanketed the speedway.

When the race resumed, Hamlin’s handling issues continued, dropping him back to 15th before the caution flew again when David Ragan spun after 13 green flag laps. Crew chief Dave Rogers elected to keep Hamlin out on the track during the caution with 140 laps to go, moving up to third for the restart. However, cars on fresher tires moved past the #11 machine and Hamlin eventually settled in to eighth at the race’s midpoint.

The FedEx crew made a variety of adjustments during the next two pit stops, but Hamlin continued to battle the tight condition on corner exit at both ends of the 1.5-mile track.
Following a stop under caution, Hamlin lined up 10th for the restart with 67 laps to go, but the contact with Hornish Jr. would force him to pit road under green for right-side tires. The crew thought they had the problem fixed, however, an undetected damaged left rear tire would blow four laps later, sending the FedEx car into the outside wall and eventually to the garage, resulting in the 41st place finish.

The finish dropped Hamlin five positions to 15th in the NASCAR standings following Kansas, now 153 points behind leader Kevin Harvick after 11 of 26 regular season races. Hamlin’s Martinsville win keeps him seventh in the Chase playoff standings.

NASCAR returns to action on Saturday, May 16 for the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.