2019 Post-Race Reports
Get All Your Post-Race Information
From race highlights to quotes from Denny, Race Day Central delivers it all and keeps you informed on the latest and greatest in NASCAR racing.
Hamlin Scores Double-Overtime Win at Kansas, Seeded Third for Round of 8
This would not be the one that got away. Denny Hamlin earned his fifth win of the season Sunday at Kansas Speedway, overcoming two overtime restarts and a hard-charging effort from Chase Elliott.
After starting 23rd, Hamlin appeared to be cruising to his first win of the 2019 Playoffs after winning Stage 2 of the race and then dominating Stage 3. But the caution flag flew for Ryan Blaney with just 14 laps to go in the race. Crew chief Chris Gabehart brought Hamlin to pit road under the yellow for two tires, while others in the top 10 took four.
Hamlin held the lead for the restart and the next six laps, when the caution came out again, this time for a multi-car accident that would send the race into overtime. Once again, Hamlin restarted in the lead. And, once again, a multi-car incident brought out a yellow flag, just as it appeared the FedEx Toyota was taking the white flag – and the win. But NASCAR ruled that Hamlin was short of the start-finish when the caution flag was displayed.
The field bunched up one more time for second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, and this time Hamlin paced two solid laps, holding off runner-up Chase Elliott for the win.
“I knew track position was the biggest factor for us,” Hamlin said. “As long as we could keep our car out front, it was the most important thing beyond tires. Chris (Gabehart) made all the right calls on all those late cautions.”
The Victory Lane celebration featured a congratulatory phone call from FedEx CEO Fred Smith.
“Fred Smith and his whole team have been so great to support me and this race team for 14 years of my career and I could not be happier to get another win for this company and all the associates that work there,” Hamlin said.
While Hamlin had already earned enough points mid-race to clinch a spot in the Round of 8 in NASCAR’s Playoffs, the win made a statement as he heads into the next round seeded third. The first race in the Round of 8 is Sunday, October 27, at Martinsville Speedway.
Hamlin Battles Back for Third Place Finish at Talladega
Denny Hamlin, with an assist from his FedEx team, made a textbook recovery from a lap down to finish third in Monday's rain-postponed Talladega Superspeedway race, won by Ryan Blaney.
After starting last on Sunday due to a blown engine during his qualifying attempt, Hamlin, driving the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, worked his way up to fourth in the running order before getting caught in the middle lane, slipping back to 14th as the skies opened up after 55 laps of racing. Persistent rain forced the official's to postpone the remainder of the race until Monday.
When the race resumed on Monday, Hamlin was running in the lead pack of cars when he radioed the crew that the right side hood flap was loose. The flap eventually flew off the car as the team made preparations to fix the problem. Hamlin lost the draft in the process and the #11 went a lap down. Two laps later, a multi-car accident collected Hamlin and the FedEx car sustained sheet metal damage to the left front fender.
The FedEx team made numerous pit stops to fix the damaged fender and replace the hood flap. Trapped a lap down to the leaders, Hamlin made some aggressive moves to put himself in the “Lucky Dog” position in an effort to get his lap back. The strategy worked, as a timely caution waved while Hamlin was in that position, allowing him to get back on the lead lap.
Hamlin didn't feel he had a race winning car, considering the aerodynamic disadvantage from the damaged front fender. He and crew chief Chris Gabehart decided to ride around in the back of the pack in an effort to stay out of any further trouble and aim for a top-10 finish. The strategy would pay dividends as Hamlin was able to dodge three multi-car wrecks that progressively reduced the number of cars left to race.
Hamlin lined up seventh for the final restart with two laps to go. As the drivers jockeyed for position, Hamlin tried to draft his way to the front, but ran out of racing room and crossed the line under the checkers in a photo finish, beating Aric Almirola by inches for third place.
“I was just trying to play chess out there,” said Hamlin. “I knew my odds and percentages with the wrecks. I knew once my competitors started to fall out, I knew that I had to be smart. I just knew the end of these races usually end up like a crashfest and I was just going to take all the crash positions I could get once I got back on the lead lap. Once I saw that the percentage was better for me to go race up front for the win versus just taking the end of the lead lap even if we were to crash, I knew it was in my best interest to try to go there at the end and we almost won it anyway.”
Hamlin leaves Talladega leading the NASCAR Playoff standings and only needs to start next Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway to advance to the Round of 8.
Hamlin Brings Home Fifth in 500th Start
Denny Hamlin recorded his 15th top-five finish of the season on Sunday with a fifth-place finish at Dover International Speedway in his 500th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
After starting from the pole position, Hamlin kept the #11 FedEx machine up front throughout most of Stage 1, only relinquishing the lead in order to visit pit road for his first green-flag pit stop. Following the round of stops, Hamlin returned to the top spot, eventually taking the Stage 1 win, securing a playoff bonus point in the process.
Leading the field to the green for Stage 2, Hamlin showed the way again, until pitting with 54 laps remaining in the segment. Hamlin assumed the top spot following the scheduled stops, however, the FedEx car was beginning to develop a tight condition as the segment progressed. As the laps wound down, Hamlin got trapped behind a lapped car and Martin Truex Jr. passed the #11 with 10 laps remaining in the Stage.
Hamlin started the final segment next to Kyle Larson and tried to keep up with Larson, but the evolving tight condition returned to the FedEx car. A lack of cautions hampered crew chief Chris Gabehart’s ability to dial in enough adjustment to give Hamlin the handling he needed, and the FedEx car eventually faded to fifth by the time the checkered flag waved. Hamlin led the most laps, with 218, but Larson went on to score his first victory of the season.
“We had the best FedEx Toyota I’ve ever had at Dover.” said Hamlin. “I was as comfortable as I’ve ever been here, and we showed that for the first half of the race. We just got put in a bad situation with some lapped traffic at the end of the second Stage and I lost the lead. There were no cautions to pick up the rubber and we just got tight. Once we lost the lead – lost the clean air – it was so difficult to pass. I needed to be up front with as tight as my car was. Top-five, at this track, I’ll take it every week.”
Hamlin now sits second in the playoff standings, 15 points behind Martin Truex Jr. The next race is Sunday, Oct. 13 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hamlin Finishes 19th in Wild Roval Race, Advances to Round of 12
Denny Hamlin will advance to the Round of 12 in NASCAR’s Playoffs after finishing 19th on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval course Sunday. The race on the road course-oval hybrid was a wild one, with 10 caution flags, including two for wrecks that involved Hamlin.
The #11 team had to start their back-up FedEx Freight Toyota after a Friday practice crash, requiring Hamlin to drop to the rear for the initial green flag. While the car showed speed, multiple incidents on track kept knocking Hamlin back in the field, including a multi-car wreck during Stage 1 and another in Stage 3.
The race was red-flagged with only seven laps remaining to clean up fluid on the track. When it finally returned to green, Hamlin was able to gain multiple positions to cross the line in 19th. Chase Elliott won the race, with Ryan Newman, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Hamlin teammate Erik Jones getting eliminated as the 16-driver Playoff field was pared to 12.
“We just had a bunch of things working against us today,” Hamlin said. “We started the back-up car, and we got caught up in some wrecks that caused some damage. We just didn’t have what we needed to get up to the front. I’m proud of the effort by our FedEx team, but I’m ready to stick to the ovals for the rest of the Playoffs.”
Hamlin is now seeded third in points for the start of the Round of 12, which begins Oct. 6 at Dover International Speedway.
Hamlin Takes Third at Richmond as Joe Gibbs Racing Goes 1-2-3
Denny Hamlin earned a podium finish before his hometown crowd at Richmond Raceway Saturday night, as the Chesterfield, Va., native took third in a race that saw Joe Gibbs Racing sweep the top three finishing positions.
After taking the green flag in sixth in his FedEx Office Toyota, Hamlin moved into the top five early and never left. The car was strong for all 400 laps, despite some handling and grip issues that the team adjusted on all evening.
But Hamlin’s No. 11 didn’t quite measure up to his teammates, with Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch dominating most of the race. Truex Jr. won for his second consecutive victory and Busch crossed the line second in front of Hamlin. The finish bumped the FedEx team driver to fifth in the Playoff standings.
“We had a third-place car tonight, and that’s where we ended up,” Hamlin said. “We just didn’t have the long-run speed that my teammates had. But it was a good day overall. We ran in the top five all night, executed well and maximized our day. Our confidence is high going into Charlotte next week.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will come home to North Carolina for the third race of the Playoffs and the final event in the Round of 16. Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the series on its “Roval” (road course and oval hybrid) course on Sunday, Sept. 29.
Hamlin Fights Tough-Handling Car to Finish 15th at Las Vegas
A top-10 finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway slipped from Denny Hamlin’s grasp in the last stage of the race Sunday night, as a change in the FedEx Toyota’s handling led to the No. 11 team finishing 15th.
Hamlin started 13th but got the FedEx Ground Camry running in the top 10 by Lap 25. Despite his car not handling as well as he wanted, he was able to keep it in the top 10 for the first two stages. He even took the lead for a Lap 185 restart during Stage 3 after rolling the dice on a two-tire pit stop.
The car’s handling took a turn for the worse from there, sending Hamlin on a backward slide that saw him as low as 25th on the leaderboard. He climbed back in the final 40 laps to cross the finish line in 15th.
“We had a pretty decent FedEx Camry for the early part of the race, and then something happened with the handling where we went dead backwards,” Hamlin said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a car – without damage – change handling as much as that did. But we’ll take it back to the shop and figure it out, and we won’t let it affect us. We’ll go to Richmond and get back to work.”
The result dipped Hamlin to seventh in points. The second race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs takes Hamlin to his hometown track of Richmond Raceway for a Saturday night race on Sept. 21.
Hamlin Notches Sixth-Place Finish in Back-up Car at Indianapolis
Denny Hamlin drove a back-up car from the rear of the field to a sixth-place finish in NASCAR’s regular-season finale Sunday at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway.
A Saturday practice crash forced the team to qualify a back-up car, which lined up 33rd for Sunday’s Brickyard 400. Hamlin then had to drop to the rear during the pace laps, per NASCAR rules.
Despite a tight-handling condition in his FedEx Express Toyota, and some damage from multiple on-track and pit-road contact incidents, Hamlin was able to make up a lot of ground from the rear of the field. He climbed into the top 10 by the end of Stage 1 and was 15th at the end of Stage 2. The car was the tightest it had been all day in Stage 3, preventing him from making a charge all the way to the front, but he maintained a spot in the top 10 until the checkered flag to cross the line in sixth.
“Passing isn’t very easy at this track,” Hamlin said. “We did make a lot of progress from the back, but not enough to get all the way to the front. I’m proud of this FedEx team for all we’ve accomplished so far this season, and we’re excited to get the Playoffs started and keep working our way toward a championship.”
Hamlin finished the regular season fourth in championship points and second in the Playoff ranks. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs kick off Sunday, Sept. 15, at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.
Multi-Car Crash Wrecks Hamlin’s Darlington Run
A top-five run and a shot at victory were derailed for Denny Hamlin Sunday night after he got collected in a multi-car wreck in the rain-delayed Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
Hamlin was running in the top five when a multi-car crash unfolded in front of him on Lap 275 of 367. The FedEx Toyota suffered significant damage, but the #11 team was able to patch up their car well enough, using multiple pit stops, to return to the race. However, Hamlin was multiple laps down and unable to make up lost ground.
He crossed the line in 29th as Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones collected his first win of the season.
“Obviously, that was a big disappointment for our FedEx team,” Hamlin said. “We had another good car and felt we could’ve competed for a win. We will get our streak going again next week in Indianapolis.”
The start of Sunday night’s race was delayed almost four hours due to heavy rain, and fans didn’t see the checkered flag wave until almost 2 a.m. local time.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series holds its regular-season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 8.
Hamlin Roars to Victory in the Bristol Night Race
Denny Hamlin stormed from two laps down to win Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, passing Matt DiBenedetto with 11 laps remaining to capture his fourth victory of the season.
Hamlin lined up ninth for the final restart with 113 laps to go, and methodically picked off positions towards the front. He made it into the top-five with less than 75 to go, and then up to second with 40 laps remaining. He worked the high line to catch DiBenedetto and then dove to the bottom to complete the pass.
“This FedEx team is on such a roll right now,” said Hamlin, who now has 35 career Cup Series wins. “We show up fast at the race track each and every weekend, and (Saturday), Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) kept me in the game to come back and win the race. I’m proud of our entire team.”
The race was not without incident for the #11 FedEx Team. An early wreck happened right in front of Hamlin while leading, and he was collected in it to sustain right-side damage. Repairs dropped him outside the top-10 for Stage 1 (11th), where he was seemingly mired in traffic.
Then in Stage 2, Hamlin felt a loose wheel vibration and made an unscheduled stop on Lap 189, putting him two laps down to the field when the caution flew shortly thereafter. The wave around got one lap back, and then Hamlin got the free pass with six laps to go in Stage 2 after a host of cautions late in that segment.
Hamlin restarted the final segment just inside the top-20 before making his charge to the front.
The finish vaulted Hamlin to third in the NASCAR point standings following Bristol, 77 points behind leader Kyle Busch with three races remaining in the regular season. The Series enjoys an off weekend before returning to action on Sunday, September 1 at Darlington Raceway.
Harvick Holds Off Hamlin in Fuel-Mileage Race at Michigan
Denny Hamlin finished second to Kevin Harvick at Michigan International Speedway Sunday in a race where the closing laps had everyone guessing who had enough to fuel to make it to the finish.
Hamlin and the #11 team had a fast FedEx Office Toyota, shooting from their starting position of 14th to the top five by Lap 23 and to the lead by Lap 40. Hamlin stayed in the top five for most of the 200-lap event, well ahead of numerous wrecks that victimized several mid-pack cars throughout the race. He led twice for a total of six laps.
The final pit stop of the day proved pivotal to the race’s outcome. The leaders all came to pit road after a caution on Lap 150, with some filling their fuel tanks enough to make it to Lap 200 and some coming up a little short. As the final laps of the race ticked down, some of the top five had to peel off for fuel, while Harvick stayed out front and Hamlin worked to chase him down. The #11 wasn’t fast enough and crossed the line for a runner-up finish – Hamlin’s fifth straight top-five finish.
“We were right there, had a really fast car,” Hamlin said. “The FedEx team did a great job adjusting from the last time we were here. The fastest car won the race, speed-wise, but I feel like we had a great FedEx Camry. We just came up one spot short.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next heads to the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” Bristol Motor Speedway, for a Saturday night race on August 17.
Hamlin Earns Fourth Straight Top-Five Finish with Third-Place Run at Watkins Glen
Denny Hamlin kept the FedEx Cares Toyota in the spotlight all weekend long at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, culminating with a third-place finish Sunday at the high-speed road course. The result was his fourth straight top-five finish.
Hamlin rolled off sixth and ran in the top five for much of the race, a 90-lap affair that only had four cautions and minimal opportunities to pass. The top three – Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Hamlin – remained the same for the final 25 laps of the race. Elliott dominated to earn his second win while Joe Gibbs Racing cars took second, third and fourth (Erik Jones).
“We had a good FedEx Cares Toyota, but they were just a little better than us,” Hamlin said. “We had a third-place car, but I’m glad that we were able to optimize and get the most out of it. This keeps the momentum going for us. Obviously we wish we were a little better, but overall it was a good day for our team.”
The No. 11 Toyota’s special paint scheme at Watkins Glen showcased the launch of the FedEx Cares 50 by 50 initiative as well as FedEx’s long-time partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, focusing on back-to-school pedestrian safety.
The series heads back to the Irish Hills of Michigan on Sunday, Aug. 11, for a 400-mile event at Michigan International Speedway.
Hamlin Scores Third Win of the Season in Overtime Thriller at Pocono
Denny Hamlin notched his third win of the 2019 season Sunday in a nail-biting, overtime finish at Pocono Raceway. The #11 FedEx Ground Toyota was low on fuel in the closing laps but had enough juice to get Hamlin across the finish line and into Victory Lane – with two teammates behind him for a 1-2-3 Joe Gibbs Racing finish.
The FedEx Ground Camry was fast all weekend, and crew chief Chris Gabehart called a race strategy that allowed the team to pick up points at each stage end and be out front when the final laps ticked down.
After running in the top five for most of the race, Hamlin took over the lead at the start of the third and final stage. He led for 12 laps before coming to pit road under a caution to take right-sides tires and fuel. He later passed two teammates – Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones – to regain the lead with 16 scheduled laps remaining.
Despite being low on fuel, he held onto the lead for the remaining regulation laps, plus three overtime laps. Jones and Truex Jr. followed Hamlin across the finish for a 1-2-3 team sweep.
“We did everything right to win the race,” Hamlin said. “We made the right calls, had good restarts when we needed them and overall had a really smooth race. I was doing everything I could to save fuel at the end. We had a really fast FedEx Ground Toyota and we definitely earned that win.”
Hamlin is fourth in the championship standings and fourth in playoff points. The series heads next to Watkins Glen International for another weekend of road course racing, with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 4.
Hamlin Comes Home Second in Thrilling New Hampshire Finish
Denny Hamlin finished second in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, going bumper-to-bumper with eventual winner Kevin Harvick on the final lap to take the checkered flag 0.2 seconds back in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota.
The race’s final caution came with 35 laps to go with Hamlin leading. Crew chief Chris Gabehart elected to bring the #11 down pit road for right-side tires, and Hamlin lined up fourth for the final restart after three cars stayed out. Hamlin immediately jumped to second and hounded Harvick for the final 25 laps, but was unable to pass him at the end.
“We had a very fast FedEx Camry, but with the caution coming out late, we were in a tough spot knowing that guys were going to do the opposite of us,” said Hamlin. “We worked our way up from the back and led a lot of laps. I’m proud of the team’s effort, but wish we could’ve gotten that last spot.”
Hamlin started at the tail end of the field in a backup car following a crash in Friday’s opening practice. He methodically worked his way through traffic to start the race, climbing all the way to ninth by the end of Stage 1. Varying pit strategies in Stage 2 saw Hamlin take four tires with 10 laps to go in the segment, and a couple good restarts moved him to sixth at the end of that stage.
With the leaders needing to pit, Hamlin assumed the lead to start the final stage. He went on to lead the next 113 laps – his most in a race since Phoenix 2017.
The finish moved Hamlin up one spot to fourth in the NASCAR standings, 114 points behind leader Joey Logano after 20 of 26 regular season races. The Series returns to action on Sunday, July 28 at Pocono Raceway.
© 2019 FedEx. ‘Denny Hamlin®’ and ‘#11®’ are trademarks of Joe Gibbs Racing, Huntersville, NC. Toyota trademarks used with permission.