Hamlin Stretches Fuel to Finish Fourth at Watkins GlenAugust 7, 2017
Denny Hamlin finished fourth in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen, stretching the fuel inside the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota to last the final 35 green flag laps around the 2.45-mile road course in the event won by Martin Truex Jr.
Hamlin saved gas and maintained pace throughout the closing laps to take the checkered flag behind Truex and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez.
"Fuel mileage and strategy is tough, and it's a fine balance between saving and pushing," said Hamlin, the 2016 Watkins Glen winner. "Obviously I want to be able to challenge for the win, but not at the expense of running out of gas. It was a solid day all around for our FedEx team."
Hamlin was forced to start at the rear of the field after brake issues earlier Sunday in qualifying necessitated an unapproved change under impound race rules. From there, the FedEx team methodically worked to the front via a fast race car and perfect pit strategy.
Crew chief Mike Wheeler elected to pit just before the end of Stage 1, and stayed out to finish sixth in Stage 2. A small bobble on pit road during the second break put Hamlin back to 16th for the restart, but as laps clicked and front runners needed to stop for a splash of fuel, Hamlin found himself in the top-five at the finish line.
Hamlin moved up one spot to fifth in the standings after Watkins Glen. He has now posted six top-five finishes in the last eight races.
The Series returns to action on Sunday, August 13 at Michigan International Speedway.