Track Info -
Denny Hamlin finished 16th in Sunday's 200-lap Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin started 10th and immediately started fighting a loose race car when the field took the green flag. The FedEx crew took advantage of the mandatory Stage cautions throughout the race to adjust the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, but the loose condition would come and go throughout the long green-flag runs, adding to the difficulty for the team to make the necessary adjustments. During the Stage 2 break, crew chief Mike Wheeler and Hamlin decided to gamble on an alternate strategy by pitting off sequence from the cars running ahead. The strategy would pay off later in the race allowing Hamlin to show the way as the leaders pitted. But the success of the strategy was contingent upon a caution waving with the FedEx car out front. The caution never came, and after leading 16 laps, Hamlin was forced to pit, dropping him back the 15th in the running order. As the race closed in on the checkered flag, Hamlin was trying to work his way back towards the front, when an ill-timed caution trapped the #11 in 15th. Another caution forced the race to overtime and Hamlin lined up 14th for the final restart, but in the scramble to the checkers, Hamlin found himself forced into the outside groove, resulting in the 16th-place finish.
The Series returns to Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night's 500-lap race under the lights at the Tennessee short track. Hamlin has captured three pole starting positions at "The Last Great Colosseum," a stat that ties him for both a career- and Series-best among active drivers. When Hamlin visited Bristol earlier this season, he notched his 11th top-10 finish at the high-banked concrete oval.
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Denny Hamlin finished 16th in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, battling an ill-handling #11 FedEx Office Toyota throughout the 200-lap event won by Kyle Larson. See full post-race report