FedEx Racing Team Finishes 14th in PoconoJune 7, 2016
Denny Hamlin finished 14th in Monday's rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, battling a tight #11 FedEx Ground Toyota throughout the 160-lap event won by Kurt Busch.
The race was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but was postponed until Monday after persistent rain and fog blanketed the 2.5-mile track.
Starting 10th, Hamlin stayed among the top-20 throughout the 400-mile race on a windy day in the Pocono Mountains. But from the start, Hamlin's car suffered from a tight condition, hampering his ability to drive off the corners in order to make up any ground down Pocono's long straightaway's.
“We just couldn't get the handle I needed in the FedEx car today, especially coming off the corner,” said Hamlin. “It's so hard to pass when you're stuck behind a bunch of cars and I never could make up any track position. We threw everything we had at the car today, but nothing really seemed to work well enough to make a difference.”
Hamlin restarted 16th with 52 laps to go, but as the field dove in to Turn 1, a car got under Hamlin forcing him up the track and into another car. The #11 sustained superficial damage to the right front, affecting the aerodynamics and handling. As Hamlin was getting ready to pit, a caution flew after Austin Dillon suffered a brake problem and hit the wall. Hamlin jumped at the chance to pit for four fresh tires, fuel and some much needed attention to the right side damage.
Hamlin lined up 17th for the final restart with 33 laps to go. Crew chief Mike Wheeler made sure the FedEx car was packed full of fuel for the final run to the checkered flag. Hoping to run down the leaders that were close on fuel, Hamlin was only able to pick up three spots as the leaders stretched their fuel mileage far enough to make it to the checkers.
The 14th place finish dropped Hamlin one spot to 12th in the NASCAR standings following Pocono.
The Series returns to action next Sunday, June 12 at Michigan International Speedway.