Talladega – Pre Race Report
Hamlin to Return at Talladega
Denny Hamlin will make his return to the #11 FedEx Express Toyota this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Hamlin missed the last four Sprint Cup Series races while recovering from a back injury sustained in a last-lap incident at Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway on March 24. Exact plans for the FedEx Racing team at Talladega will be determined during the race weekend.
Brian Vickers drove the #11 FedEx Delivery Manager Toyota to a 35th place finish in last Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 on the short track of Richmond International Raceway, after a brake failure with three laps remaining sent the #11 FedEx machine into the wall and ended the team's day. Kevin Harvick claimed the checkered flag in the caution-filled race on the three-quarter-mile oval, followed by Clint Boywer, Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Burton. The race marked the fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event with Vickers filling in for Hamlin. Starting second next to teammate Matt Kenseth, the early part of the race went well for the FedEx team. Despite a slightly loose race car, Vickers piloted the #11 car near the front of the pack. Adjustments to the handling under the first few caution flags were unable to correct the issues. Crew Chief Darian Grubb brought the car in after the fourth caution flag on lap 157, making the strategic decision to give up some track position to make additional adjustments to the chassis. The car proved more difficult to correct than expected and the team continued to slide. More bad luck came late in the race, as contact entering pit road with less than 100 laps remaining required repairs, followed by an on-track incident on lap 337, when the #11 car sustained heavy front and rear damage.
Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Along for the Ride in Talladega
The FedEx Express station in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., will be recognized for outstanding performance with its 'JDYA' code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota this weekend.