Hamlin Tallies Top-10 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Denny Hamlin finished 10th in Monday’s rain-postponed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, leading 10 laps en route to his third top-10 finish of the season in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota.
Hamlin lined up second alongside leader Kevin Harvick for the final restart with 32 laps remaining after staying out on older tires, but coupled with the less-preferred inside groove for the launch and fresher rubber by competitors behind him, the #11 driver slipped back to 10th at the checkered flag to eventual winner Jimmie Johnson.
“We weren’t a race-winning car throughout the day, but it was good to run up front and start to show some more speed in our cars,” said Hamlin, the 2012 Bristol summer race winner. “We were out front a bit, but just battled a tight race car that wasn’t able to turn at the end.”
Clint Bowyer finished second, followed by Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.
Hamlin started 16th and methodically worked his way through traffic during the 500-lap event on the high-banked, half-mile oval. Varying tire strategies down the stretch by crew chief Mike Wheeler gave Hamlin the lead on Lap 423, and he led 10 circuits before relinquishing to Johnson.
The finish moved Hamlin up one spot to 15th in the NASCAR standings following Bristol. The Series resumes at Richmond International Raceway on Sunday, April 30.