Indianapolis – Post Race Report
Denny Hamlin, FedEx Racing Earn 18th Place Finish at The Brickyard
Denny Hamlin piloted the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota to an 18th place finish in The Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After starting the day on the outside of row two, a stubbornly loose racecar dissolved Hamlin's hopes of a first career win at Indianapolis. "We realized early on that we didn't have the best car on the track," said Hamlin. "The FedEx team worked incredibly hard to correct our handling issues, but we just weren't able to turn our fortunes around today." Indiana-native Ryan Newman took the checkered flag for his first win of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five finishers. Hamlin's other teammate, Kyle Busch, finished tenth. Despite fighting a loose racecar for most of the day, Hamlin was able to lead four laps on Indy's historic 2.5-mile oval. Just three laps into the race, Hamlin radioed back to Crew Chief Darian Grubb that the car was extremely loose. The effects of a poor handling car started to take their toll by lap 13 of 160, with Hamlin dropping to ninth place. Despite losing position, green flag racing kept the No. 11 FedEx machine out of pit lane and away from needed changes. By lap 25, the field began to shuffle through pit stops, bringing a welcome opportunity for Grubb to call the tenth place FedEx car to the pits for chassis adjustments. Along with four tires and fuel, the No. 11 car received air pressure, wedge and track bar changes in an attempt to tighten up the handling. The frustration would continue for the team, however. By 50 laps in, Hamlin was still not getting the command he needed from the car. A second pit opportunity with the team in 17th place on lap 54 brought additional tweaking to the chassis. On lap 95, Hamlin radioed to Grubb that he was losing traction in the right rear tire and unable to maintain track position. With no pit opportunities presenting themselves, Hamlin was again forced to remain on the track until the third caution flag of the day on lap 114. This time, track bar and wedge adjustments under the caution were finally able to correct some of the handling issues. With improved handling, along with strategic pit cycling, Hamlin claimed the race lead on lap 140. The momentum proved to be short lived with Hamlin falling back as far as 21st place with ten laps remaining. With no quit in his body, Hamlin continued to fight to gain ground before the checkered flag waved over the straightaway.