Hamlin Battles to Eighth-Place Finish at Dover
Denny Hamlin finished eighth in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, despite battling an ill-handling #11 FedEx Express Toyota throughout the 400-lap event won by Jimmie Johnson.
Running outside the top-10 throughout most of the race, Hamlin lined up 12th for the final restart that would take the race to overtime. As the field headed for the backstretch, a multi-car accident unfolded in front of Hamlin who took evasive action, however during the scramble the #11 sustained significant damage to the right front, but Hamlin kept enough momentum going to make it back to the finish line in eighth to score his sixth top-10 of the season.
Hamlin started 10th and almost immediately began fighting a car that switched from a tight condition to a loose condition during the stints between stops. Hamlin and the crew stayed focused on the task at hand and made adjustments to the FedEx Toyota during each stop, but the condition continued and Hamlin struggled the stay within striking distance of the top-10 during most of the race due to a lack of grip towards the end of each run.
“We struggled for the most part – hanging out just outside the top-10,” said Hamlin. “Really didn’t have a fast car to speak of. That’s where we qualified, that’s where we practiced and kind of where we raced. Just got to be a little bit faster and we’ve got to work on our setup. We faded quite a bit on the long runs and that definitely hurt us.”
Following his eighth-place finish at Dover, Hamlin moved up two spots to ninth in the overall NASCAR standings.
The Series returns to action next Sunday, June 11th, at Pocono Raceway.