Kobalt 400 – Post Race Report

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Kobalt 400, March 2017

Hamlin Earns Top-10 Finish at Vegas

Denny Hamlin solidified a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, battling a loose #11 FedEx Office Toyota throughout the duration of the 400-mile event to earn his sixth top-10 finish at the 1.5-mile track.

After a timely pit stop by the #11 FedEx crew during a caution on lap 251, Hamlin rejoined the field to restart eighth with less than 10 laps to go, maneuvering past Ryan Blaney and Jamie McMurray in the final laps to ultimately earn his sixth-place spot.

“Obviously after our luck in Daytona and Atlanta, we’re happy to score a top-10 finish at Vegas,” said Hamlin. “We worked hard to find the perfect balance today, but just couldn’t get the car there. We’ll continue to work on it and get ready for the next race at Phoenix where we’ve seen solid success.”

The #11 FedEx team’s pit stop performance during today’s 267-lap race played an integral role in positioning Hamlin for a prosperous day in the Vegas desert. A four-tire stop prior to the end of the second 80-lap stage positioned Hamlin to restart in 11th, but the brief green-flag run prior to the mandatory caution shortened his opportunity to net a top-10 finish or additional championship points in stage two.

Martin Truex Jr. moved past 2016 Las Vegas winner Keselowski for the win with less than two laps remaining as Joey Logano collided with Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and fourth-place contender Kyle Busch, opening the way for Hamlin to earn an additional position before the checkered flew.

Hamlin’s finish at Las Vegas moves him up four spots to 15th in the overall NASCAR standings. The Series returns to action next Sunday, March 19, at Phoenix International Raceway.