Late-Race Wreck Relegates Hamlin to 17th-Place Finish in Brickyard 400July 24, 2017
Denny Hamlin finished 17th in Sunday's Brickyard 400, surviving a bevy of late-race cautions before contact on the penultimate restart caused significant damage to the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota and relegated him to a 17th-place finish in the event won by Kasey Kahne.
Hamlin lined up fourth behind Kahne during the first overtime restart. Kahne spun his tires as Hamlin tried to push him out to the lead. The field bunched behind him, and a spinning Trevor Bayne clipped Hamlin's left-rear. The ensuing caution gave the team time to assess the damage, and decided to keep Hamlin on the track for the final restart. Unfortunately, the left-rear damage proved to be more detrimental than anticipated, and a wreck on the backstretch ended Hamlin's day just before the finish.
"It was a wild race, and we knew we had to stay out there at the end and hope the damage wasn't bad," said Hamlin. "Guys had to be so aggressive on restarts because it's so tough to pass here, sometimes that's what you get at the end."
Hamlin started fifth before a nearly two-hour red flag for rain. When the race resumed, Hamlin made slight contact with Ryan Newman on pit road and had to pit multiple times for repairs. Crew chief Mike Wheeler worked the rest of the race to regain the lost track position, and a long green-flag run in the final segment looked to pay off with a top-five finish before the series of late-race wrecks.
Hamlin was driving a special #11 FedEx Cares Toyota he designed with 22-year FedEx team member Rachee Powell. More information on the initiative can be found at www.fedexracing.com/Indy.
Hamlin remains fifth in the NASCAR point standings following Indianapolis. The series returns to action at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, July 30.