Late Race Incident Relegates Hamlin to 17th Place Finish at Daytona
Denny Hamlin finished 17th in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in the #11 FedEx Toyota, after he brushed the wall with five laps to go in the race won by Brad Keselowski.
After starting ninth and leading the race twice for a total of seven laps, the reigning Daytona 500 Champion lined up sixth for a restart with six laps to go.
As the field raced off of Turn 4 following the restart, Hamlin had to take evasive action in the tight quarters and ran out of racing room, scraping the wall with the right-side of the FedEx Toyota. The jockeying for position unsettled the cars behind and Carl Edwards hit the wall, bringing out the final caution and sending the race to overtime.
The right-side damage to the #11 forced Hamlin to pit for repairs during the yellow, dropping him to 23rd for the overtime restart. With just two green flag laps to work with, Hamlin went three-wide to the outside and maneuvered the FedEx Toyota to 17th at the checkered flag.
"The FedEx car was good tonight," said Hamlin. "We led some laps and my crew did a great job on pit road. We definitely had a shot there towards the end, but things got really tight after the restart and I got forced into the wall. There just wasn't enough time left in the race to make up that much ground."
The finish moved Hamlin up one spot to 10th in the NASCAR standings after 17 of 26 regular season races.
With track position at a premium, Hamlin would lead twice and race among the top-three for the remainder of the event, allowing him to make the last lap move on Stewart.
The series returns to action Saturday, July 9 at Kentucky Motor Speedway.