Hamlin Tallies Top-Five Finish in Brickyard 400
Denny Hamlin finished fourth in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, overcoming a mid-race speeding penalty to capture his ninth top-10 finish of the 2016 season in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota.
Hamlin lined up fifth for the overtime restart at the famed 2.5-mile speedway, and picked off one spot during the two-lap shootout, barely edged by Jimmie Johnson for third in the race won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Matt Kenseth finished second.
"You have to be flawless to win these races, and we weren't flawless today," said Hamlin, after the race. "We got behind the eight-ball with the speeding penalty, and never regained that lost track position. Our FedEx Camry was fast, but we just weren't able to show it."
Hamlin started fourth and immediately climbed to second behind Busch in the early going. A long stretch of green flag racing through the event's midpoint saw a handful of pit stops, and during one, Hamlin was caught speeding exiting pit road and forced to serve a pass-through penalty. The penalty dropped him back to 18th in the running order, but still on the lead lap.
A rash of late-race cautions provided the FedEx team the opportunity to put on tires battle amongst the top-10 for the final laps.
The finish kept Hamlin 10th in the current NASCAR standings following Indianapolis, 129 markers behind leader Kevin Harvick after 20 of 26 regular season races. The Series returns to action at Pocono Raceway on July 31.