2020 Pre-Race Reports
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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.
New Series: With the on-track action of the NASCAR Cup Series postponed for the next several weeks, Denny Hamlin is among the drivers slated to compete in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, a simulation-style eSports program, with the inaugural event on Sunday, March 22, at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Press Kit: Download the 2020 FedEx Racing press materials at www.fedexracing.com/presskit, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.
Virtual Race Info
|Race||eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event|
|Date/Time||Sunday, March 22/1:30 p.m. ET|
|Distance||100 laps/150 miles|
|Track Length||1.5 miles|
Hamlin Conversation – Virtual Homestead:
How much will this Sunday’s iRace feel like real racing?
“The simulators are pretty realistic. We’ve all used them to help ourselves improve on some of the tracks and road courses over the years. It will feel just like I’m turning laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”
Obviously, a virtual race doesn’t replace on-track racing, but do you feel like this will help boost the mood of race fans?
“We sure hope so. You can’t replace the real thing, but fans will still be able to sit down and watch a race on TV on Sunday afternoon. The cars will all look realistic. I’ll be racing my FedEx Express Toyota, which looks just like the real race car. And even though it’s a virtual race, I’ll still be proud to represent FedEx. They’ve got nearly half a million team members working hard right now to keep critical shipments moving in a challenging time.”
Denny Hamlin finished 20th in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, following an on-track incident that caused significant damage to the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota in the event won by Joey Logano. After starting third, Hamlin settled into fourth during the opening laps and was poised to stay up front with a car that was handling to his liking. However, as a three-wide battle continued, the aerodynamics became unsettled entering Turn 3 and Hamlin tangled with Brad Keselowski. The contact turned the #11 and Hamlin tagged the wall with the right side of the car. Hamlin was forced to make numerous pit stops in an effort to repair the bodywork, but the rear spoiler was too far out of position to be effective, severely affecting the handling, and Hamlin eventually fell back to 29th, two laps down. Throughout the race, the team made every effort to try to get back on the lead lap, but the cautions didn't fall their way. But as the laps clicked down, crew chief Chris Gabehart used a flurry of cautions to strategically advance the #11 back on the lead lap, salvaging the 20th-place finish.
The series heads back east to Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 500-mile event on the 1.5-mile asphalt Georgia oval. Hamlin is a one-time winner at the track, taking the checkered flag in 2012. Hamlin owns four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 19 career races at Atlanta, leading a total of 391 laps and will be looking for that elusive second win of the 2020 season.
|Race||Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500|
|Date/Time||Sunday, March 15/ 3:30 p.m. ET|
|Distance||325 laps/500.5 miles|
|Track Length||1.5 miles|
|Track Shape||Quad Oval|
|2019 Winner||Brad Keselowski|
|Track||Atlanta Motor Speedway|
Hamlin Conversation – Atlanta:
Looking ahead to Atlanta this weekend, what will you do differently to position yourself for a win?
“We just need to continue what we’ve done all season. We had a great car in Phoenix, just got tangled up and got some damage that kept us in the back all day. The team and I are confident in the work we’ve put in and will continue to push ourselves to hopefully end up in Victory Lane on Sunday.”
Do you feel like Atlanta is a track where you can turn things around?
“Absolutely. We have a win there. Of course, we’d like to add another. We just have to put Phoenix behind us and get back to work. We are surrounded by all the right people, putting in all the work to give us the best result we can possibly get.”
FedEx Express Along for the Ride at Atlanta:
FedEx Express is pleased to recognize the team members at the HHHA station in Hilton Head Island, S.C., for their exceptional performance by featuring the letters HHHA on the B-post of the FedEx #11 at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. HHHA ranks among the top 10 stations in the Southeast Region year-to-date and has been the top-ranking station three separate months since June, most recently in December during the busy Peak season. The dedicated team of employees consistently achieve the Money Back Guarantee service delivery goal, as well as safety goals, as evidenced by a year-over-year reduction in vehicle accidents and worker injuries.
FedEx Office – Closest to Atlanta Motor Speedway
105 Promenade Pkwy, Suite A, Fayetteville, GA 30214, (770) 461-6311
Denny Hamlin’s race weekend in Southern California ended a lot better than it started: After qualifying 28th and taking the green flag at the rear of the field, the driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota finished sixth at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. Hamlin’s 400-mile race wasn’t without its adverse moments. He unintentionally knocked Kyle Larson into the wall during Stage 1 and then scraped the wall himself in Stage 3, both causing damage that affected the car’s aerodynamics and handling. But the veteran driver kept wheeling the car around different lines of the multi-groove track to find speed where he could, even briefly taking the lead in the early part of Stage 3. Entering the final 15 laps of the race in 10th, Hamlin battled numerous competitors to claim a few more spots and cross the line in sixth. The result bumped him up two spots in the championship ranking to seventh.
The series makes its way to Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway before heading back east, and Hamlin looks to repeat his success he had last season in the desert where he won the Bluegreen Vacations 500. In 29 career starts, Hamlin has collected two wins, and 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes at the one-mile oval. After moving up two spots to seventh in the standings following Fontana, Hamlin and team look to continue to make gains at a track where they’ve had past success.
|Date/Time||Sunday, March 8/ 3:30 p.m. ET|
|Distance||312 laps/312 miles|
|Track Length||1 miles|
|2019 Winner||Kyle Busch|
Hamlin Conversation – Phoenix:
What are you and the team most focused on moving forward as the series heads to Phoenix this weekend?
“We just need to keep working at it. Fontana wasn’t a great race for us, but we got a better finish than we were expecting and got a little bump back up in points. We won last year at Phoenix, so that gives us confidence that we can repeat that success out in the desert.”
What do you need to improve on looking ahead to Phoenix this weekend?
“We just need to find more speed. We haven’t had it the past couple of weeks. But I like Phoenix, I think we can do well here, and I know my team will bring the best car they can.”
FedEx Freight Along for the Ride at Phoenix:
For the Fan Shield 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway, FedEx Freight recognizes the company’s Phoenix, Ariz., service center by featuring the call letters PHX on the #11 FedEx Freight race car. The center has had year-over-year improvements in all safety metrics. The Phoenix service center, opened in 1988, has approximately 475 team members who are committed to making every FedEx experience outstanding.
FedEx Office – Closest to Phoenix Raceway
9925 W McDowell Rd., Suite 105, Avondale, AZ 85392, (623) 643-9873
Las Vegas Recap:
Denny Hamlin finished 17th in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, unable to overcome an ill-handling #11 FedEx Ground Toyota in the race won by Joey Logano. Hamlin lined up fourth on the grid, but had to drop to the back of the field after the team was penalized for a technical inspection violation. At the drop of the green flag, Hamlin began reporting that the car was extremely loose, and he felt like he was driving on ice. As the race progressed, the FedEx crew made significant adjustments to the chassis during each pit stop, but Hamlin continued to struggle with the handling. Despite best efforts from Denny and crew, the FedEx11 team sat in 17th place as Logano took the checkered flag.
Continuing on the West Coast swing, the series heads to Fontana, Calif., for Sunday’s 400-mile race at Auto Club Speedway. After 18 career starts at the Southern California track, Hamlin has recorded two top-five finishes, seven top-10 finishes and three pole positions, as well as a career-best finish of third (2008 and 2016). Following a disappointing performance in Las Vegas, Hamlin and team will be looking for Hamlin’s second win of 2020, thus moving forward in the standings, where Hamlin currently ranks ninth two races into the season. The #11 FedEx Toyota will promote the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest on the TV panel of the car for this weekend’s race in Las Vegas. The reminder encourages small business owners to apply for a collective prize pool of more than $250,000 by the entry deadline of March 2nd at www.fedex.com/grantcontest.
|Race||Auto Club 400|
|Date/Time||Sunday, March 1/ 3:30 p.m. ET|
|Distance||200 laps/400 miles|
|Track Length||2 miles|
|Track Shape||D-Shaped Oval|
|2019 Winner||Kyle Busch|
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Hamlin Conversation –Fontana:
What are you most focused on moving forward as the series heads to Fontana this weekend?
“We just need to get back on track. We obviously started off the season with a bang in Daytona, and then had a little hiccup in Las Vegas. We know what we need to do to win, and we’re focused on the next race. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back up front at Fontana.”
How do you bounce back after a disappointing effort in Las Vegas this past weekend?
“It was just a tough day all the way around for our FedEx team. We just didn't have a good handle on the car throughout the entire race. We finally worked our way up into the top 15, and the pit road speeding penalty killed our chances of any kind of decent finish. We just need to regroup and get the car ready to go for next weekend.”
FedEx Office Along for the Ride at Fontana:
FedEx recognizes FedEx Office District 101 – Houston Downtown for its top sales to plan for District Operations YTD Fiscal Year 2020
FedEx Office – Closest to Auto Club Speedway
11334 4th St., Suite 102, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730, (909) 481-2277
Denny Hamlin won his third Daytona 500 in five years Monday in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, passing Ryan Blaney in the final stretch to win by 0.014 seconds, the second-closest margin of victory in the “Great American Race.” The race was postponed after just 20 laps on Sunday due to rain, and it resumed Monday afternoon. Hamlin and his fellow Toyota competitors stuck to the game plan of riding in the back out of harm’s way in Stage 1. Hamlin inherited the lead after varying pit cycles at the end of the stage. He went on to lead the majority of Stage 2 and captured that segment victory for an additional playoff point. The action picked up in the final stage, with side-by-side racing throughout the field. A handful of late-race incidents took out many of the frontrunners, but Hamlin was able to avoid the wrecks and remain near the front for the final few restarts and took the checkered flag.
Las Vegas Preview:
The series heads out to the desert this weekend to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 400-mile event. Denny Hamlin continues his pursuit of his first career win at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Hamlin and the #FedEx11 team are currently atop the points standings and look to expand their lead this weekend in Las Vegas. The #11 FedEx Toyota will promote the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest on the TV panel of the car for this weekend’s race in Las Vegas. The reminder encourages small business owners to apply for a collective prize pool of more than $250,000 by the entry deadline of March 2nd at www.fedex.com/grantcontest.
|Race||Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube|
|Date/Time||Sunday, Feb. 23/ 3:30 p.m. ET|
|Distance||267 laps/400.5 miles|
|Track Length||1.5 miles|
|2019 Winner||Joey Logano|
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Hamlin Conversation – Las Vegas:
What are you most looking forward to as the Series heads to Las Vegas this weekend?
“Our team is picking up where we left off last year and really clicking so far. I’m very happy with our performance, but we still have a lot of work to do and a lot more challenges coming our way. We’ll be ready to get back at it this weekend in Las Vegas and hopefully take the checkered flag.”
Back-to-back victories in Daytona – how does it feel to be back in victory lane again this year?
“First, my thoughts are with Ryan (Newman) and his well-being, I’m proud of this FedEx team for another great accomplishment, but no win is more important than the health and safety of the competitors. It feels great to get this win and hopefully we can keep this momentum going throughout the season.”
FedEx Express Freight Along for the Ride at Las Vegas:
The FedEx Ground Mid-South district will be recognized for exceptional safety performance with its district code “MIDS” on the B-post of the #11 FedEx Toyota this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
FedEx Office – Closest to Las Vegas Motor Speedway
228 S Nellis Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89104 (702) 431-5076
Busch Clash Recap:
Denny Hamlin finished sixth in the #11 FedEx Toyota in Sunday's Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway after pushing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones to victory. Hamlin started 18th in the 18-car field following a random draw to determine starting positions. But, starting in the back didn't deter the driver of the FedEx Camry, who rocketed up to sixth after just five laps of racing on the high banks. The FedEx car was clipped in the right rear and received minor damage after Joey Logano and Kyle Busch got tangled up with eight laps to go. Two more cautions would claim most of the field, and just five cars were running the final laps to the checkers. As the five cars jockeyed down the backstretch for the final time, Hamlin, now one lap down, tucked his FedEx Toyota under the rear of JGR teammate Jones and pushed him from fourth to first through the final turn and to the checkered flag
The Series kicks off its regular season this Sunday with the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Returning as the defending race champion, Hamlin will look to secure his third win at Daytona in the 62nd running of the Daytona 500. Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team will first participate in Thursday’s qualifying “Duel” races, which will determine the full starting grid for Sunday’s main event. Last weekend’s time trials determined that Hamlin will race in Duel 1, lining up third behind pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
|Date/Time||Sunday, Feb. 16/ 2:30 p.m. ET|
|Distance||200 laps/500 miles|
|Track Length||2.5 miles|
|2019 Winner||Denny Hamlin|
|Track||Daytona International Speedway|
Hamlin Conversation – Daytona:
How did it feel to be back in the car out on the track during the Clash?
“It was fun. I mean my car was so, so fast. I’m proud of the effort by my FedEx team, and I'm glad we got a JGR team win, too. Our 500 car was fast in practice, too, so I feel good about how we can race on Sunday.”
What did you learn from Sunday’s Clash that you can apply to the Daytona 500 this Sunday?
“We just need to stay focused, be patient and make sure that we keep our car on the track and in the race. We did try staying out under a caution during the Clash, and lost a tire after some contact, so that will be in the back of our minds come Sunday.”
FedEx Express Freight Along for the Ride at Daytona:
For the Daytona 500, the iconic 500-mile NASACR Series season opener, the FedEx #11 will feature the letters CLT on its B-Post to recognize the AGFS and U.S. Operations team members for their outstanding performance. The teamwork between the local stations and ramp has resulted in the highest ever Money Back Guarantee FedEx Priority Overnight (MBG PO) service level to date for the CLT market and improved PM Flight On Time Performance with zero Market Delays. FedEx Express is honored to recognize its teams in the Charlotte Market for outstanding performance.
FedEx Office – Closest to Daytona International Speedway
2274 W International Speedway, Daytona Beach (386) 323-7840
Busch Clash at Daytona:
Denny Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team start their 2020 NASCAR Cup Series campaign this Sunday with the 75-lap Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway. A three-time winner of the event (2006, 2014 and 2016), Hamlin is one of only six drivers to win both the Clash and DAYTONA 500 during the same Speedweeks. Last year he was unable to finish the Clash due to a multi-car wreck after 55 laps. The #11 FedEx Toyota will promote the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest on the TV panel of the car for this weekend’s Clash. The reminder encourages small business owners to apply for a collective prize pool of more than $250,000 by the entry deadline of March 2.
|Date/Time||Sunday, Feb. 9/ 3:00 p.m. ET|
|Distance||75 laps/187.5 miles|
|Track Length||2.5 miles|
|2019 Winner||Jimmie Johnson|
|Wins||3 (2006, 2014, 2016)|
Hamlin Conversation – Clash:
You had a great season in 2019. Looking ahead, what can we expect from you and the FedEx team in 2020?
“Last year we made it to the Championship 4, and our goal starting today is to get back there and bring home the title. I know Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) and the rest of these guys are ready to go, and so am I. We’re excited to get back out on the track for the 2020 season.”
Your FedEx Toyota for this weekend’s Clash promotes the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. What is the message you want people to know?
“FedEx is committed to helping small businesses grow and is on a mission to shine a light on entrepreneurs and uplift their brand. Winners of the Small Business Grant Contest get access to connections, a peer network and lots of opportunities to take their brand to the next level. Who wouldn’t want to earn money for their business? All you have to do is go online to http://fedex.com/grantcontest and tell FedEx about your business by March 2 for an opportunity to win.”
FedEx Express Along for the Ride at Homestead:
FedEx is kicking off the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series by recognizing the outstanding performance of the AGFS and U.S. Operations team members in the BDL market. On Feb. 9, the letters BDL will appear on the B-post of the #11 Toyota at the Clash at Daytona. Employees in the BDL market in Hartford, Conn., are known for operational excellence, achieving a near all-time high MBG FedEx Priority Overnight service level of 97% in January, reducing Wrong Day Late service failures and achieving continuous improvement in aircraft load quality performance.
FedEx Office – Closest Daytona International Speedway
18755 S Dixie Hwy, Suite 57, Miami, FL 33157, (305) 235-2911
© 2020 FedEx. ‘Denny Hamlin®’ and ‘#11®’ are trademarks of Joe Gibbs Racing, Huntersville, NC. Toyota trademarks used with permission.