Las Vegas – Post Race Report
Pit Road Penalty Relegates FedEx Racing Team to 15th-Place Finish in Las Vegas
Denny Hamlin finished 15th in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, unable to overcome a pit road speeding penalty under green flag conditions midway through the 400-mile event won by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. Hamlin made a pit stop on Lap 116 of the 267-lap race for four tires and fuel after driving from 11th into the top-five, but was too fast entering the pits and was charged with a 'pass through' penalty. The penalty dropped Hamlin one lap down and off pit sequence with the lead group. The FedEx Racing team got its lap back under caution on Lap 161 via the free pass, and restarted 17th. After another extended green flag period and yellow flag that saw the leaders come to pit road for service, crew chief Darian Grubb elected to keep Hamlin out to gain track position. He restarted as the leader and settled into the top-five with less than 50 laps remaining. Hamlin made a stop for two tires and fuel from fifth with 42 laps to go, as the team was within its window to make it the distance, while others still had to stop, and the #11 team was hoping the race would stay green to the conclusion. However, a caution came out a short time later, and Hamlin was again trapped a lap down. Using the wave around, Hamlin restarted in 19th and was able to make it up to 15th by the checkered flag. Kenseth won, followed by Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. Hamlin started sixth and ran among the top-10 throughout the first half of the race, battling a loose race car on slick, bumpy surface. The finish kept Hamlin fourth in the NASCAR standings following Las Vegas, 27 points behind Johnson after three of 26 regular season races. The Series returns to action at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 17.