Hamlin Battles to Top-Five Finish in MichiganJune 19, 2017
Denny Hamlin finished fourth in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, capturing his third top-five finish of the season in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota.
Hamlin lined up second for the final restart alongside Kyle Larson with five laps remaining, but the non-preferred inside line proved menacing, as Hamlin slipped to third by Turn 2. He battled with Joey Logano for the remaining circuits and took the checkered flag in fourth.
“We had great speed in our FedEx Camry today, but the cautions just didn’t fall our way at the end,” said Hamlin, a two-time Michigan winner. “On the second-to-last restart, we had cleared our way into second and I thought we had a chance at the 42 (Larson), but the wreck behind us put us on the inside for that last restart and I knew we were in trouble.”
Hamlin started fifth and showed strong speed throughout the 200-lap race. He finished fourth in Stage 1, but a lengthy pit stop during the break moved him outside the top-10 for the start of Stage 2. He worked his way through traffic to finish that stage in seventh.
The race’s final segment saw a lengthy green flag run, with Hamlin methodically moving up in the running order. A flurry of late-race cautions bunched the field, with drivers in the outside groove on restarts having a decided advantage.
Hamlin’s finish keeps the #11 team ninth in the current NASCAR standings following Michigan. The Series returns to action on Sunday, June 25, at Sonoma Raceway.