Phoenix – Post Race Report
Hamlin Qualifies Second, Finishes 28th at PIR
Denny Hamlin started from the outside of the front row at Phoenix International Raceway after a qualifying lap of 25.892 seconds (139.023 mph) on Friday. "We didn't practice very well but as I've said all year long, I have an amazing FedEx crew and those guys proved it again with a great qualifying setup. Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks and the FedEx Ground car should be pretty good on race day."
When the green flag fell on Sunday Denny immediately moved around pole sitter Jimmie Johnson and led the first 18 laps before giving up the point after his #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry began getting loose coming off the corners. By lap 40 he had fallen back to 15th and nine laps later he spun in turn two to bring out the first caution flag. After pitting for fuel, four tires and a wedge adjustment he restarted 30th.
The yellow came out again on lap 100 with Denny pitting from 29th for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He restarted 30th, one lap down. When the next caution came out on lap 116 he pitted again for tires and fuel with crew chief Darian Grubb calling for another track bar adjustment. On lap 131 there was another yellow and Denny stayed out to restart 17th. During the next caution period he stayed out again to restart seventh and did the same thing on lap 162 to move up a spot to sixth.
Lap 190 saw another yellow and Grubb called for an off-sequence stop from 10th for four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and a wedge adjustment. He restarted 21st with 113 laps to go and was moving forward again but on his green flag stop on lap 264 of 312 he was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to come in for a pass-through penalty, falling back to 30th, two laps down.
At the end of the race Denny was 28th and one lap down with Kevin Harvick the winner over Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth finished seventh and 23rd, respectively.
"We hoped for a better showing," said Hamlin, "but Phoenix is a tough track and we just couldn't quite get our FedEx Ground Toyota right this afternoon and then we had the speeding penalty. But Darian and my FedEx crew never gave up and we'll try again next weekend."
The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is Sunday, November 17th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.