Mid-Race Crash Relegates FedEx Racing Team to 39th Place Finish in Martinsville
Denny Hamlin spun and hit the wall on Lap 220 of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, causing extensive damage to the #11 FedEx Express Toyota and relegating the team to a 39th-place finish in the event won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.
Hamlin overcame an early-race pit road speeding penalty to drive from the tail end of the field up into the top-five nearing the halfway mark.
Shortly after passing Brian Vickers for fifth-place and chasing down Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin lost control in Turn 1 and backed into the outside retaining wall.
"It was a rookie mistake," said Hamlin, a five-time Martinsville winner. "You have to adjust the amount of brake you use as a run wears on, and the car wheel-hopped into (Turn) 1 out of the blue. It's a disappointment for sure, but I was encouraged with how well our car performed up to that point. We come back here during the Chase, and I think we should contend for the win."
Hamlin started eighth and ran among the top-10 throughout the early going. During the team's first pit stop near Lap 100, Hamlin was caught speeding leaving pit road, and forced to restart at the back of the pack. He quickly worked through traffic to move back into contention before the spin.
The finish dropped Hamlin five spots to ninth in the NASCAR standings following Martinsville, 48 points behind leader Kevin Harvick after six of 36 regular season races. The Series returns to action at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 9.