Hamlin Finishes Third in Regular Season FinaleSeptember 11, 2018
Denny Hamlin finished third in Monday’s regular season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading a race-high 37 laps in the 160-lap race before a throng of late-race cautions foiled the FedEx Racing team’s quest for their first Brickyard 400 win in the #11 FedEx Possibilities Toyota.
Hamlin took the lead on lap 143 following a cycle of green-flag pit stops in the race’s final 60-lap Stage. He proved to be a dominant contender as the laps ticked to the finish, however two cautions in the race’s final 16 laps gave Hamlin’s competitors with fresher tires a chance to close the gap. On the penultimate lap, Hamlin was forced to give way to eventual race winner Brad Keselowski which also allowed his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones to slip by, and the #11 machine went on to finish third.
“Our #11 FedEx Possibilities Toyota was really fast out there, so it stings that we couldn’t bring this one home,” said Hamlin. “I obviously can’t thank my entire team enough for all they did to put us in the position to win, and while it may not have happened for us today, it’s a positive sign of things to come as we head into Playoffs.”
Rain washed out track activity on Saturday and Sunday, delaying the race to Monday afternoon. The lineup was set per the rule book, so Hamlin lined up 10th to take the green flag for the 400-mile event. He quickly worked his way into the top-five to ultimately finish Stage 1 in third, then went on to capitalize on short-pit strategy in the second segment to position himself up front for the final Stage.
Hamlin’s performance at Indianapolis with 37 laps led adds $4,107 to the total donation amount to Safe Kids Worldwide through the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program. For every lap Hamlin leads this season, FedEx donates $111 to Safe Kids, a nonprofit working to protect kids on the road, on behalf of the #11 FedEx Team. At the end of this season, the Denny Hamlin Foundation will also match the total donation to Safe Kids.
The Series returns to action next Sunday, September 16, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first race in the Round of 16 in the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs with Hamlin currently positioned 13th in the overall Playoff points standings.