Late-Race Crash Dooms Hamlin at PhoenixNovember 13, 2017
Denny Hamlin finished 35th in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway after a heated battle with Chase Elliott resulted in Hamlin making contact with the outside wall. The contact eventually led to a tire giving way, sending the #11 into the wall and ending Hamlin's race and chance to advance to the Championship 4 in the 2017 NASCAR Playoffs.
“The FedEx team gave me a great car to drive, we had a fast car all day,” said Hamlin. “We put ourselves in good position. Things just didn't work out there at the end.”
Hamlin started second and dropped back to third following the start, but the FedEx car came to life and Hamlin took over the top spot after just 28 laps. He held onto the lead as Stage 1 wound down until a charging Kyle Larson moved Hamlin back to second where he would finish in the first segment to pick up nine stage points.
Hamlin began Stage 2 as the leader following a fast stop by the FedEx crew and showed the field the strength of the #11 by leading every lap of the segment, picking up the Stage win and 10 more points.
Hamlin went on to lead a race-high 193 laps of the 312-lap race before getting caught up in incident that ended his race with only 37 laps remaining. Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth ultimately took home the race win after passing Chase Elliott with 10 laps to go.
Hamlin is now sixth in the NASCAR standings following Phoenix. The next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, November 19th, marks the final race of the 2017 NASCAR season.