Late-Race Crash Relegates Hamlin to 30th-Place Finish at MartinsvilleApril 3, 2017
Denny Hamlin finished 30th in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway after sustaining damage to the #11 FedEx Express Toyota during a multi-car incident on lap 418 during the short track race. The left side of Hamlin’s front splitter required extensive repair and prolonged time on pit road, relegating the team to a 30th-place finish, seven laps down.
When the caution came out on lap 310, the FedEx team decided to take a gamble with their pit strategy and elected to stay on track while the rest of the leaders pitted for tires and fuel. Hamlin took charge of the lead for the restart, but quickly found himself shuffled to the 14th position, unable to keep up with the competitors’ fresh rubber. Hamlin was battling for the 14th position during Stage 3 when he made contact with Danica Patrick, setting off a chain reaction in turn four. Although Hamlin was able to return to track following the incident, the #11 FedEx Toyota required multiple stops on pit road so the team could attempt to repair the damage to the front splitter, resulting in lost laps on track. Hamlin restarted the race in 30th on lap 432 where he would continue for the remainder of the race.
“This obviously wasn’t the way we wanted to end our weekend at Martinsville,” said Hamlin, a five-time Martinsville winner. “We had a solid car all weekend long and that was clear today, there was just no way we were going to be able to move back through the field after the damage to the splitter. We’ll look forward to Texas, and we’ll wait to have another shot at a win back here (Martinsville) in the fall.”
After starting 12th for the 500-lap event, Hamlin tactfully maneuvered his way through the front of the field, making his way to sixth before the first caution flew on lap 71. Combined with the #11 FedEx crew’s precision on pit road, Hamlin earned himself a second-place finish and nine Championship points at the conclusion of Stage 1.
Hamlin also led 24 laps during Sunday’s 263-mile event, adding $2,664 to the total donation amount to Safe Kids Worldwide through the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program. For every lap Hamlin leads this season, FedEx will donate $111 to Safe Kids, a nonprofit working to protect kids on the road, on behalf of the #11 FedEx Team.
Hamlin's finish drops him to 16th in the overall NASCAR standings. The Series will return to action on Sunday, April 9th, at Texas Motor Speedway.