Hamlin Takes Home 10th-Place Finish at Charlotte
Denny Hamlin took home a tenth-place finish in Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway after making contact with Brad Keselowski in the final 10-lap dash to the finish, causing irreparable damage to the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota.
Hamlin scored an average finish in the first three Stages that secured his spot amongst the top-10 drivers who would compete in the race’s final shootout. The #11 FedEx crew worked quickly on pit road to earn Hamlin four spots prior to the final restart, but his hopes of claiming the $1 million prize were quickly dashed after contact with Keselowski caused a left-rear tire rub that forced him to retire with only two laps remaining.
“Considering that we had to move to a back-up car following a crash in practice, I was happy to get us locked into the final 10-lap Stage,” said Hamlin, the 2015 All-Star Race winner. “I would’ve obviously liked to have finished the race completely, but it wasn’t worth risking a wreck or Kyle’s (Busch) chance at the win.”
Hamlin started the 70-lap event from ninth, and he maintained his position within the top-10 for the entirety of the race. Hoping to help tighten up a loose race car, Hamlin’s team elected to use their softer tires for Stage 2, and the decision paid off as he moved into the top-five. From there, the competitors’ varying strategies on pit road and three-wide racing saw Hamlin fluctuate between sixth and tenth until he was forced to withdraw the damaged #11 from the race.
The Series will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway next Sunday, May 28th, for the Coca-Cola 600.