Denny Finishes 12th at Pocono
Denny Hamlin finished 12th in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Speedway won by first-time Cup Series winner Ryan Blaney.
Sunday’s race was a battle of varying pit strategies, and Hamlin and the #11 FedEx team looked to capitalize on strategic pit stop timing to climb their way from their 18th-starting position to the front of the field.
Hamlin and two of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez, were the last drivers to pit during Stage 2, stretching out their time in between stops to give themselves a shot at the top spot during the race’s final 60-lap Stage.
The strategy paid off for Hamlin as he moved into the top spot with nine laps to go in Stage 2, leading one lap before him and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez came to pit road for scheduled green-flag stops. A multi-car wreck immediately following their green-flag pit stops on lap 97 quickly foiled their master plan, and the red-flag appeared with only three laps remaining in Stage 2, giving the competitors a new, opportune window to pit.
Sticking to the original idea, Hamlin stayed out, restarting third when the race returned to green on lap 105 for the start of Stage 3. He fought to maintain his position for the remaining laps, but struggled to hold off cars on fresher rubber.
“This entire weekend at Pocono, we’ve obviously seen pit strategy and track position be key to drivers’ success on the track,” said Hamlin, a four-time Pocono winner. “Today our #11 FedEx team gave it our best effort to be in a good position when it mattered at the end of the race, and unfortunately we fell short. Regardless of today’s finish though, I still have faith in my team and my Joe Gibbs Racing teammates to get us in Victory Lane soon.”
Hamlin’s one lap led in Sunday’s race will add $111 to the total donation to Safe Kids Worldwide through the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program. To date, $16,761 has been on the #11 team’s behalf.
After today’s 12th-place finish at Pocono, Hamlin remains in ninth in the overall NASCAR standings, 198 points behind leader Martin Truex Jr. The Series will return to action next Sunday, June 18th, at Michigan International Speedway.