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Hamlin Battles to 15th-Place Finish at Kansas

October 17, 2016

Denny Hamlin finished 15th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, overcoming a variety of issues to keep the FedEx Racing Team’s chances alive to advance in the Chase for Sprint Cup championship.

An early race splitter issue forced Hamlin to pit multiple times for repairs in the 267-lap event won by Kevin Harvick. Hamlin felt something amiss with the right front of the car, and a timely caution allowed him to bring it to the attention of the crew. They noticed damage to the front splitter, and Hamlin drove from the tail of the field back to the front to position himself for a promising day.

However, just past the race’s midpoint, Hamlin made unavoidable contact with Brad Keselowski in Turn 4, causing damage to the nose of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota. After another set of stops for repairs, the team incurred an “uncontrolled tire” penalty and was again sent to the tail end of the field.

As the laps clicked and crew chief Mike Wheeler worked strategy to regain track position, Hamlin pitted during the race’s final caution and came out eighth. Unfortunately, the team received another penalty for the crew being over the wall too soon. Hamlin restarted 25th and drove up to 15th at the checkered flag.

The finish dropped Hamlin to 10th in the Chase standings, just six points behind the eighth and final transfer spot heading into the final Round of 12 race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, Oct. 23.