Top-10 Finish for the FedEx Office Team at New HampshireJuly 18, 2016
Denny Hamlin finished ninth in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota after running near the front of the field throughout the 301-lap event won by Matt Kenseth.
With track position at a premium on the flat one-mile oval, Hamlin, running sixth at the time, stayed out during one of the races final caution periods to gain valuable track position, with all of the cars ahead pitting, the FedEx Toyota assumed the lead for the restart with 34 laps to go. The gamble paid dividends for five laps before teammate Matt Kenseth passed the #11 just prior to another caution.
Following the restart, fresher tires began to prevail slipping Hamlin back to fifth. As drivers jockeyed for position, the caution flag would fly again, and during the scramble another car made contact with Hamlin resulting in a left rear tire rub. Hamlin was forced to pit, dropping him 21st in the running order with only 17 laps remaining. Hamlin now had fresher tires and was able to pick off a couple spots prior to the caution coming back out one lap later. Lining up 15th for the final run to the checkers, Hamlin took advantage of the fresh rubber and used the last 11 laps to pick up six spots for the ninth place finish.
“I felt like the FedEx Toyota was a top-three car today, but we gambled towards the end and that backfired on us a little bit,” said Hamlin, a two-time New Hampshire winner. “I was really glad there were a couple of cautions at the end because that gave us a shot to pick up some spots.”
The finish moved Hamlin up one spot to 10th in the NASCAR standings after 19 of 26 regular season races.
The Series returns to action Sunday, July 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.