Hamlin Ninth in Rain-Shortened Texas RaceNovember 7, 2016
Denny Hamlin finished ninth in Sunday's rain-shortened, rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, unable to gain much needed track position throughout the 293-lap event won by Carl Edwards.
Hamlin lined up 12th for the final restart and made his way up to 11th before the yellow waved for rain with 43 laps remaining. During the caution, two cars ahead of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota came to pit road moving him up to ninth before NASCAR was forced to declare the race final due to the rain-soaked track.
Hamlin started 17th and clawed his way into the top-15, settling into 12th for most of the race that was delayed nearly six hours by rain showers that passed over the track prior to the scheduled start.
Hamlin and his FedEx pit crew made every effort to minimize their time spent on pit road, but in almost every instance, the pit sequence of surrounding cars hampered Hamlin's exit, costing him valuable track position for the restarts.
“It was just kind of an in between race for us,” said Hamlin. I thought we had a little bit better car than that at times. We just had a tough deal on restarts. We would always get the top line which was bad and we got blocked in just about every time we pitted and that cost us a few spots as well. So, that made for a tough day track position-wise. I thought that if we could've just gained a couple spots here and there on runs and then on pit stops, our car was much better in clean air. So, we just kept gaining a little and losing them a little bit on pit road. That was frustrating, but still a decent day for our FedEx Office team.”
The finish dropped Hamlin to sixth in the Chase standings, just two points behind the fourth and final transfer spot heading in to the final Round of 8 race at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 13.