Hamlin Fights Back for 14th-Place at BristolApril 17, 2018
Denny Hamlin came back from three laps down to finish 14th in Monday's rain-postponed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, in the event won by Kyle Busch.
Nearly three-fifths of the 500-Lap event had to be completed Monday after persistent rain on Sunday forced NASCAR to move the finish to the following day after 204 laps were complete.
Hamlin was in second place when Sunday ended, and after the race resumed on Monday, he ran among the top-five early on. He finished Stage 2 in fourth on Lap 250 and was primed to breakthrough with his first win of the season. Unfortunately, a loose wheel on an early pit stop in the final stage forced Hamlin to pit from the lead under green.
Hamlin dropped in the running order and had to work with crew chief Mike Wheeler for the remainder of the event on differing strategies to try to make up the lost track position.
The team utilized the wave around and earned the free pass to get back on the lead lap with 100 laps to go, but restarting at the tail end of the field proved difficult, as Hamlin stalled out. One late race caution bunched the field and Hamlin took the checkered flag in 14th.
"It was a trying day for our FedEx team," said Hamlin. "We had an issue with the pit gun on our stop with a loose wheel, and we were in an uphill battle from there. We tried to make the most of our day, but I'm frustrated someone out of our control played a part in our finish."
The result moved Hamlin up to eighth in the standings following Bristol. The Series returns to action on Saturday, April 21 at Richmond Raceway.