Richmond – Post Race Report
Hamlin, FedEx Racing Finish 21st in Richmond
Denny Hamlin finished 21st in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, unable to overcome a pit strategy call that trapped the #11 FedEx Express Toyota one lap down in the 300-mile event won by Carl Edwards.
Hamlin qualified sixth and ran among the top-10 throughout the early portion of the 400-lap race on the three-quarter-mile track. The Chesterfield, Va., native battled a tight race car in the center of the corners, moving around the surface looking for more grip.
Following a pit stop under caution for chassis changes, fuel and tires, Hamlin restarted on the outside and was put three-wide, pushed into the rubber marbles near the wall and losing a handful of spots back to 20th. The car did not respond in the dirty air, and Hamlin radioed that the changes made the car worse. Crew chief Darian Grubb brought Hamlin down pit road under green on Lap 340, but the caution came out just two laps later, trapping the #11 machine two laps down. After the wave around to get one lap back, Hamlin was unable to make up the second lap by the checkered flag.
"It was another tough night for the FedEx team," said Hamlin, following the race. "We just never got the balance right in the car after getting back in the dirty air, and got unlucky with our pit strategy a bit. Hopefully we can find a little bit of speed in our cars for the last 10 races and try to help our teammates win the Chase."
Hamlin failed to qualify for the Chase championship playoff for the first time in his career after missing four races earlier this season with a back injury.
NASCAR returns to action with the first race of the 10-event playoff at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, September 15.