Coke 600 (Charlotte) – Pre Race Report
All-Star Race Recap
Denny Hamlin finished sixth in last Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, learning valuable information for this Sunday's longest race of the season -- the Coca-Cola 600 -- on the 1.5-mile oval. Saturday's 90-lap non-points, exhibition event was broken into five segments, with four 20-lap runs followed by a 10-lap dash to the finish line. A tight condition throughout the race prohibited Hamlin from challenging for his first All-Star win at the end, while Jimmie Johnson was victorious. Hamlin started seventh in his seventh-career All-Star Race, and stayed among the top-10 before rain brought out the caution on Lap 8. The persistent precipitation necessitated a red flag, and NASCAR brought the teams down pit road to dry the track. When the race resumed, Hamlin finished the first segment in eighth. The FedEx team used a variety of pit strategies following each of the first four segments to work on the car and gain track position, using two-tire stops following the second and third segments (after finishing ninth and seventh, respectively). Hamlin finished 14th in the fourth segment and his 9.5 average placed him ninth prior to the mandatory four-tire pit stop before the final segment. Quick work by the FedEx crew moved the #11 up to seventh for the final restart, and Hamlin gained one spot before the checkered flag.
Hamlin will make his 16th-career Cup Series points race start at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. Hamlin finished second in both races at Charlotte in 2012, leading 13 laps last Memorial Day weekend for the runner-up result to Kasey Kahne. He started eighth and steadily moved up the running order in the 400-lap race that ran green for long stretches. In the fall Chase race at Charlotte, Hamlin qualified ninth and quickly showed the strength of the FedEx Toyota, leading 36 laps before taking the checkered flag just 0.417 seconds behind winner Clint Bowyer. Hamlin has led at least one lap in 10 of his 15 Charlotte races, and has recorded eight top-10 finishes, including the last five in a row.
Gaylord Texan Along for the Ride in Charlotte
The FedEx Office location at the Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine, Texas is a leading store in the company's annual President's Club program. The store team will be recognized for excellent service and dedication to their customers with its "5518" code numbers on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
FedEx Racing Conversation – Denny HamlinWhat did the FedEx team learn in the All-Star Race that can be applied to the Coca-Cola 600?
"We learned quite a bit that we can use this weekend. Obviously, in a short race like the All-Star Race, you set up your car a little more aggressively knowing that track conditions won't change much and you need to move up early. In the Coke 600, it's such a long race and the track will change from day to night, that you really have to have some adjustability in your car. Track position was pretty important in the All-Star Race, so hopefully we can have a good starting spot and stay up front all night."