Hamlin Finishes 12th in First-Ever Roval RaceOctober 1, 2018
Denny Hamlin finished 12th in Sunday’s 109-lap event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, the first-ever Cup Series event held at Charlotte’s “Roval” which combines the traditional Charlotte oval with a new infield road course to create a 17-turn, 2.28-mile track.
Hamlin was required to start Sunday’s event from the tail end of the longest line after sustaining significant damage to his #11 FedEx Freight Toyota during Friday’s qualifying session which forced the FedEx Racing team to a back-up car. Although Hamlin gained multiple positions on the initial start, he had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a flat-spotted tire only five laps into the event. The stop separated Hamlin from the field, but he battled his way to 19th by the the first 25-lap segment concluded.
Hamlin lined up 12th to begin Stage 2, electing to make his scheduled green-flag stop on lap 38 for four tires and fuel. With varying pit strategies playing out for the remainder of the segment, Hamlin crossed the line 17th when the second yellow-checkered of the race flew. As a number of the leaders who did not pit in Stage 2 visited pit road, the FedEx Racing team moved into sixth for the final Stage start.
The #11 FedEx Freight Toyota remained in the top-five for the opening laps of Stage 3, but Hamlin fluctuated position as varying pit strategies continued to play out among the 40-car field. Hamlin occupied the 21st spot when a multi-car wreck at the front of the field collected a number of the leaders, and the melee propelled the #11 FedEx Toyota to 13th for the final restart. He earned one position in the quick dash to the checkered.
Following his 12th-place finish at the Roval, Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team will not advance to the next round of the NASCAR Playoffs, and he is currently 15th in the overall NASCAR points standings.
The Series makes its way to Dover International Speedway next Sunday, October 7, for the opening race of the second Round of the Playoffs.