Late-Race Crash Relegates FedEx Racing to 35th-Place Finish
Denny Hamlin finished 35th in the #11 FedEx Toyota in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway after a heated battle with Chase Elliott resulted in Hamlin making contact with the outside wall. The contact eventually led to a tire giving way sending the #11 into the wall, ending Hamlin's race and chance to advance to the Championship 4 Playoffs.
“The FedEx team gave me a great car to drive, we had a fast car all day,” said Hamlin. “We put ourselves in good position. Things just didn't work out there at the end.”
Hamlin started second and dropped back to third following the start, but the FedEx car came to life and Hamlin took over the top spot after just 28 laps. He would hold the lead as Stage 1 was winding down, until a charging Kyle Larson moved Hamlin back to second, where he would finish, picking up nine stage points.
Hamlin began Stage 2 as the leader following a fast stop by the FedEx crew and showed the field the strength of the #11 by leading every lap of the segment, picking up 10 more points with the win.
Hamlin would lead a race high 193 laps of the 312-lap race before getting caught up in incident that ended his race with 37 laps to go. Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth passed Chase Elliott with 10 laps to go to win at Phoenix.
Hamlin is now sixth in the NASCAR standings following Phoenix. The next race is the final race of the NASCAR season at Homestead-Miami Speedway next Sunday, November 19th.