FedEx Team Manages 11th Place Finish at Talladega
Denny Hamlin finished 11th in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota after leading 43 laps in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway won by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Hamlin started 11th and fell back to 33rd after just two laps when he had a close call while running the low line racing four-wide on the high banked oval. Hamlin decided to stay out of trouble and run at the back of the field for the rest of Stage 1 after the FedEx car developed a vibration, forcing the team to pit three laps prior to the end of the Stage.
The forced strategy paid dividends as the early stop gave Hamlin the lead for the start of the Stage 2. Utilizing clean air and some aggressive driving, Hamlin led 41 laps and won Stage 2 picking up 10 bonus points in the process.
As the final Stage progressed, Hamlin raced among the leaders, adding two more laps at the point. But as the laps clicked, the racing intensity picked up and Hamlin narrowly missed a multi-car accident that allowed him to move up to second with 15 laps remaining. Hamlin and teammate Kyle Busch raced hard for the lead at the restart as the field behind them lined up and chased them down, Hamlin was eventually caught in a four-wide situation that shuffled the FedEx car back to ninth.
A spin with two laps to go trapped Hamlin in ninth for the green-white-checker restart, Hamlin fought hard but lost two spots in the scramble to the checkered flag resulting in the 11th place finish.
“My FedEx team gave me a great car today and some bad luck forced our strategy to change,” said Hamlin. “I felt like we had a top-five car today, but we just got shuffled around there at the end and I didn't have enough time to get back up front to challenge for the win.”
Hamlin's 43 laps led, triggered a $4,773 donation to Safe Kids Worldwide through the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program. To date, $15,540 has been donated to Safe Kids Worldwide through the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program.
Hamlin remains 11th in the overall NASCAR standings following the race at Talladega. The Series returns to action next Saturday, May 13, at Kansas Speedway.