Hamlin Battles Back for Seventh-Place Finish at ChicagolandJuly 2, 2018
Denny Hamlin finished seventh in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, battling back from a last-place starting position and late-race spin to notch his 10th top-10 finish of the season in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota.
Hamlin lined up 19th for the final restart and charged through the field over the last 50 laps to salvage a strong day in the event won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.
"It was an eventful day, for sure," said Hamlin, he 2015 Chicagoland winner. "We came from the back twice and never truly were able to show our speed. We needed a clean day to get up front but never got the track position to do that."
Hamlin started last after post-qualifying inspection revealed an infraction, disallowing his fourth-fastest lap in time trials. He quickly worked to the front to finish Stage 1 in 11th place. He maintained the track position during the race's midpoint and finished ninth in Stage 2.
However, while racing the top groove with 90 laps to go, Hamlin lost control and went spinning off Turn 2. He thankfully did not incur any damage, but had to pit for tires and restart 26th. One more caution allowed Hamlin to get four more fresh tires for the last stint, and he was able to make up 12 spots by the checkered flag.
The finish kept Denny eighth in the NASCAR standings following Chicagoland, 199 points behind leader Busch with nine races remaining in the regular season.
The Series returns to action on Saturday, July 7 at Daytona International Speedway.