Nashville Recap: Denny Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team were fighting for a top-10 finish Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway, but fell outside the top 20 when they had to pit for fuel in the closing laps. The disappointing finish followed an afternoon of numerous adjustments to make the FedEx Express Toyota handle better around the 1.33-mile oval. Hamlin started 13th and fell as far back as 27th during Stage 1 when the car’s handling was at its worst. But the stop-after-stop tinkering with the set-up paid off in Stages 2 and 3, when the team ran consistently in the top five. The handling on the #11 took a step backward on the final run of the 399-mile event, knocking Hamlin out of the top five. The team was still in position to earn a top-10 finish, but Hamlin had to bring the car into the pits for fuel with two laps remaining. The move relegated him to a 21st-place finish, one lap down.
Pocono Preview: It’s a doubleheader this weekend as the Cup Series makes its way to the triangular course of Pocono Raceway for races on Saturday and Sunday. Last year, Hamlin and team finished second in the first race of the doubleheader and then earned a visit to Victory Lane in the second. At a track where he’s been a high performer his entire Cup career, Hamlin will look to repeat his past success at the “Tricky Triangle.”
Track: Pocono Raceway
Laps Led: 785
Avg. Start: 7.4
Avg. Finish: 11.3
Hamlin Conversation – Pocono:
How does your success at Pocono feed into your confidence?
“Just because we had success in the doubleheader there last year, I don’t think it will automatically mean we’ll have success this year. A lot of things about the cars and the rules have changed since last year. But I’m optimistic about it. I think we’re going to continue to get better as a team. And these summer months are really where we should be hitting our stride.”
Last year there were no fans in attendance due to COVID-19. But now with fans returning to the track does it feel like the intensity is higher?
“Pocono Raceway has got some very passionate fans. For 16 years, I’ve gotten to see some packed crowds there. So, winning there last year without fans around, you didn’t feel the same excitement. It will be fantastic to have the fans back and the infield packed with campers and kids playing. It’s part of what makes it a great track.”
FedEx Ground Along for the Ride at Pocono: The Northeast District leads the FedEx Ground Eastern region in safety metrics, so “NEST” will appear on the B-post of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota for the June 26/27 Pocono Raceway doubleheader to recognize their accomplishment.
Shari Spiewak PR