Hamlin Logs Third-Place Finish at CharlotteMay 28, 2018
Denny Hamlin finished third in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after maintaining his position within the top 10 for the majority of the 400-lap race to ultimately capture his third top-three finish of the 2018 season.
After a swift four-tire stop during the last Stage break, Hamlin lined up fourth in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota for the fourth and final 100-lap Stage of the event. He maintained that position in the field as the segment ran caution-free, and when it came time for scheduled pit stops, Hamlin and the FedEx Racing crew elected to pit last, giving the #11 chance to contend with fresh tires. Hamlin worked to chase down the leaders, but he was unable to close the gap between himself and second-place contender Martin Truex Jr. before the checkered flag flew.
“Overall, I thought we had a good car tonight, we just didn’t have enough speed to contend with the 18 (Kyle Busch),” said Hamlin. “There were a couple times after contact with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and 2 (Brad Keselowski) that we had to battle back where we really belonged, and I’m proud of this FedEx team for never giving up.”
Throughout the race’s first three Stages, Hamlin battled for positon at the front of the field to earn as many additional Stage points as he could. In Stage 1, he was shuffled behind Brad Keselowski on the segment’s final restart, falling back to 12th before fighting his way back eighth in the closing 15 laps. During Stage 2, Hamlin suffered right-front tire damage after contact with Jimmie Johnson, and he was relegated from sixth place to 25th after having to visit pit road for repairs. He wasted no time in making up lost track position though, and was back within the top 10 after just 10 green-flag laps, ultimately finishing fourth when the second segment ended.
Hamlin remains seventh in the overall NASCAR points standings, only a few points shy from the fifth- and sixth-place spots. The Series returns to action next Sunday, June 3, at Pocono Raceway.