Hamlin Advances to NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 Despite Mechanical Failure at Dover
Denny Hamlin finished 35th in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway after brushing the wall on lap 374 of the 400-lap race following a broken axle on the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota. Despite having to retire early from the race, Hamlin still collected enough points to secure his spot in the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 as four fellow competitors were eliminated from Championship contention.
Hamlin started the 400-mile race sixth, finding his preferred groove on the high-banked, concrete oval to notch two top-10 finishes in the race’s first two 120-lap Stages and ultimately securing his spot in the next Round of the Playoffs before the race’s final segment even began.
During the race’s final Stage, Hamlin was relegated to 17th, one lap down, following the team’s final green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel on lap 336 before he encountered the broken axle that prevented him to continue in the competition.
“All thing considered, it’s still a disappointing day for our FedEx Racing team to have to end our day in the garage,” said Hamlin. “We’ve struggled at this track before, and unfortunately we found ourselves in a similar position today. I think we’ve learned a lot this weekend that we’ve got to apply to our strategy moving forward in the Playoffs.”
Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch was victorious, followed by Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson.
The four drivers eliminated following Dover were Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon.
Hamlin’s finished dropped him to seventh in the NASCAR Playoffs standings, only two points behind sixth-place contender Kevin Harvick. The Series visits Charlotte Motor Speedway next Sunday, October 8th, for the first of three races in the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12.