Quicken Loans 400 – Pre Race Report
Denny Hamlin started 17th in last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway and appeared headed for a top five finish, but handling issues late in the race left him with an eighth-place result in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry. With qualifying rained out and the lineup determined by owner points, Hamlin started mid-pack but immediately began moving forward. He was up to 14th by lap 21, 12th by lap 32 and then ninth by lap 51. Like many others his car was loose under the bright, sunny skies but crew chief Darian Grubb and Hamlin's FedEx Ground crew kept working on the chassis while servicing the car in record time. On his final pit stop he made up five spots on pit road to restart second behind eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson, but two more cautions and restarts saw the #11 car get shuffled back to his eventual finish position due to a severe tight condition. Hamlin moved up one position in the standings after Pocono to now rank 25th, 76 points out of the 20th position.
The Series now shifts to the two-mile Michigan International Speedway for Sunday's 400-lap event. Hamlin is a two-time June race winner at the track in the Irish Hills, taking the checkered flag in back-to-back years (2010 and 2011). In 2010, Hamlin and the #11 team were dominant, leading 123 of 200 laps en route to victory lane. The following year, the FedEx crew got Hamlin on track first after a late stop and he held off now teammate Matt Kenseth for his lone win of the 2011 campaign. Hamlin has recorded seven top-10 finishes in 14 career Michigan starts, leading at least one lap in eight events.
Fort Wayne, Ind., Operations Team Along for the Ride in Michigan:
This weekend at Michigan International Speedway, the #11 FedEx Express Toyota will carry the letters 'FWA' on the b-posts to recognize the U.S. Operations team in the Fort Wayne market. The FWA market includes the Fort Wayne area of Northeastern Indiana and Northwestern Ohio.
FedEx Racing Conversation – Denny HamlinDo you think Michigan is a track where the FedEx team can capitalize with a victory?
"Michigan is definitely a place that our FedEx team has had success at in the past, winning a couple races and running up front for the most part. It was a little tough on us last year after the repave, but hopefully we'll have the speed to contend this weekend. Obviously, we can't afford to have bad finishes and need to get a win or two, but most importantly, we have to minimize mistakes and finish where we should. If we take care of our business and put ourselves into position to win, that stuff will take care of itself."