Wreck in Final Laps Relegates Hamlin to 35th-Place at PoconoJune 4, 2018
Denny Hamlin spun in Turn 1 late in the final stage of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, incurring heavy damage after contact with the inside retaining wall and ending the #11 FedEx Racing Team’s day in 35th place.
Hamlin had battled his way to fourth in the race’s final Stage when a caution appeared with 20 laps to go. The unpredicted yellow flag prompted a variety of pit strategies amongst the field’s leaders, and Denny followed his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch down pit road for four tires and fuel in preparation for the remaining circuits in the 160-lap event, ultimately falling in line 10th for the restart on lap 143.
As the field returned to green-flag racing, Hamlin made his way to the bottom of the race track to continue fighting for his spot within the top 10, however his plan was halted when the #11 FedEx Office Toyota tangled with the #88 of Alex Bowman, sending Hamlin towards the inside wall. The contact could not be prevented, and the crew assessed the resulting damage to be irreparable, ending Hamlin’s day at the “Tricky Triangle.”
“We had a top-five car at Pocono, and it’s unfortunate we had to end our day that way,” said Hamlin. “Our end result does not match the performance we were capable of, and I hate it for this team. We’ll be back next week ready to make up lost ground, though.”
Hamlin started Sunday’s race from 10th, maintaining his position within and around the race’s top-10 for the majority the 400-mile event. He showed consistent speed in Stage 1 to notch a fifth-place finish when the yellow-checkered signaled the segment end. In Stage 2, Hamlin just barely missed the top-10 cut, finishing 11th at the 100-lap mark.
The finish dropped Hamlin one spot to eighth in the overall standings, 10 points behind seventh-place competitor Kurt Busch. The Series returns to action next Sunday, June 10, at Michigan International Speedway.