Hamlin Advances to Chase Round of 12October 3, 2016
Denny Hamlin finished ninth in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, advancing to the Round of 12 in the Chase playoffs after four drivers were eliminated following the 400-lap event at the "Monster Mile."
Hamlin started seventh and needed to finish 13th or better to advance. The FedEx team strategy was to run a conservative race, stay out of trouble and make sure they didn't make any mistakes on the track or on pit road.
“It's hard to race and be aggressive when you have to race to not make any mistakes,” said Hamlin. “We knew we were plenty fast enough today to just do what we had to do, but you can't make any mistakes on pit lane so you're a little bit slower. Behind the wheel I'm a lit more conservative than I would be and that equals about a ninth place finish and that's where we were.”
Track position was at a premium throughout the 400-mile race on the high-banked, concrete oval, and Hamlin lost a lap to eventual winner Martin Truex Jr. on a long green flag run, and spent the last 80 laps, one lap down. Truex Jr. set a torrid pace over the final 100 laps and just six of the 40 cars in the field finished on the lead lap.
Truex Jr. was victorious, followed by Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth.
The four drivers eliminated following Dover were Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray and Chris Buescher.
The Round of 12 consists of three races beginning Saturday, October 8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.