Mechanical Failure Forces FedEx Racing to Retire at Atlanta, Finish 38th
Denny Hamlin finished 38th in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway following a broken left-rear wheel hub on the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota on Lap 169, sending the team to the garage for lengthy repairs and relegating Hamlin to a 38th-place finish in the event won by Brad Keselowski.
Hamlin felt something amiss with the #11 machine while running eighth late in the second stage of the race, and after an unscheduled stop for four tires, was forced to limp to the end of the second, falling to 27th. During the break, Hamlin came back to pit road for the crew to diagnose the issue, where they found the broken left-rear hub, and Hamlin went behind the wall for nearly 80 laps for repairs.
"It's a bummer day for our FedEx team, but something we can hopefully learn from as an organization and improve our stuff moving forward," said Hamlin, the 2012 Atlanta race winner. "It's still early in the season and the new format rewards running up front, and I'm confident that we'll begin to do that as early as next weekend in Las Vegas."
Keselowski passed Kyle Larson with six laps to go for the win. Hamlin started 10th and ran among the leaders throughout the first stage, finishing eighth in the segment to earn an additional three championship points.
Hamlin's finish dropped him to 19th in the NASCAR standings following Atlanta, with the Series returning to action on Sunday, March 12, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.