Pure Michigan 400 – Pre Race Report
Watkins Glen Recap
Denny Hamlin finished 19th in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, avoiding a pair of late race wrecks to score a top-20 finish in the 90-lap event won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Hamlin started 20th in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota and was unable to make up ground in the early going, battling a loose race car throughout the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course. Crew chief Darian Grubb brought Hamlin to pit road for changes during the race's second caution, and then again on Lap 31 for fuel only to get inside the team's window for just one more stop. The second half of the race was caution-filled, and Hamlin used the opportunity to come to pit road for fresh tires and chassis changes. While the majority of lead-lap cars stayed out, Hamlin was able to make it up to 19th for the checkered flag. Busch led the final 29 laps en route to victory lane, followed by Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya.
The Series now heads back to Michigan International Speedway for the second 400-mile of the season in the Irish Hills. Hamlin finished 30th at the two-mile track in June. The FedEx Racing Team has two victories at Michigan, winning back-to-back spring events in 2010 and 2011 at the track. Hamlin has led 149 career laps at Michigan and has seven top-10 finishes in 15 career starts.
Chicago Heights, Ill. Along for the Ride in Michigan:
The FedEx Freight service center in Chicago Heights, Ill., will be recognized for outstanding performance with its 'CGT' code letters on the b-posts of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. The facility has more than 500 team members who work diligently to make every FedEx experience outstanding for customers throughout Southeast Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
FedEx Racing Conversation – Denny HamlinHow has Michigan changed the past few races after the repave?
"Michigan is certainly a track that has gone through a lot of changes after the repave. It's very fast and has a lot of grip, and that has made it difficult to get a tire that we can run and pass with. We have had a couple wins at Michigan, but haven't seemed to get the handle on it like we would like to since they repaved it. Earlier this year, we were just so loose entering the corner that we couldn't make any speed. I'm confident that the guys have worked hard to get a good setup in the car heading back to the track this weekend."