Hamlin Notches Top-Five Finish at Charlotte
Denny Hamlin finished fifth in Sunday's rain delayed Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, overcoming a pit road speeding penalty early in the race to score a top-five finish and notch a Stage win.
After securing the Stage 3 win, Hamlin led the field to the green flag for the start of the race’s final 100-lap segment, but he was shuffled into the middle of a three-wide during the restart that relegated him to the seventh position. As the laps ticked, Hamlin was the first of the lead-lap cars to head to pit road for a green-flag pit stop on lap 366, and he was scored 13th once the majority of the field pitted, although many cars gambled with fuel mileage and stayed out on track. Hamlin found his groove and rallied to the end to cross the finish line fifth.
“I’ve obviously got to get better at my restarts,” said Hamlin, the race’s Stage 3 winner. “I owe a lot to my crew who put me in a great spot to have a shot at the win tonight. We certainly learned a lot here, I just wish it would’ve ended in a victory.”
Hamlin spent the first half of Sunday’s 400-lap race finding his rhythm after receiving a penalty for going too fast on pit road. He avoided multiple wrecks during Stages 1 and 2, but he sustained slight damage to the right side of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota after a brush with the wall in Stage 2. Despite having to start Stage 3 from 22nd following extra time on pit road to repair the damage, Hamlin’s patient driving and the crew’s speedy pit stops ultimately secured him the Stage 3 win.
Hamlin also led a total of 10 laps during tonight’s 400-lap event, triggering a $1,110 donation to Safe Kids Worldwide through the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program. To date, $16,650 has been donated to Safe Kids through the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program.
Following his fifth-place finish at Charlotte, Hamlin moves up one spot to 11th in the overall NASCAR standings. The Series returns to action next Sunday, June 4th, at Dover International Speedway.