Hamlin Collects 13th-Place Finish at New HampshireJuly 23, 2018
Hamlin Collects 13th-Place Finish at New Hampshire
Denny Hamlin finished 13th in Sunday night’s 301-lap event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, overcoming an ill-handling #11 FedEx Freight Toyota to collect his 22nd top-15 finish in 25 starts at the New England “Magic Mile”.
Hamlin – the defending July New Hampshire race winner -- started the race from the fourth-place position, quickly catapulting into second before the competition caution even waved on lap 35. As he hit pit road during the yellow flag for four fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help reduce his tight handling condition, other competitors elected to stay out on track or take two tires only, shifting Hamlin to 19th. He fought hard to regain his track position, but his lack of grip halted his progress to 16th as Stage 1 concluded.
A quick pit stop by the FedEx Racing crew positioned Hamlin in 14th for the second segment’s start, but he continued to battle the lack of grip during the ensuing 75 laps, and finished 12th as the yellow flag signaled the end of Stage 2.
After another four-tire stop during the Stage break, Hamlin lined up 14th to begin the race’s final segment. He continued to struggle with the car’s handling and fell back as far as 18th before slowly beginning his ascent back to the front, climbing his way to 13th before the checkered flag waved.
“We really struggled with the balance of our #11 FedEx Freight Toyota today, and that made it tough to get aggressive and earn ourselves some track position,” said Hamlin, a three-time winner at New Hampshire. “Our cars certainly have speed though, we just have to work on setup, and we’ll make sure to work together on that as we move forward to keep ourselves in contention.”
Following Sunday night’s finish at Loudon, Hamlin shifts to tenth in the overall NASCAR point standings with six events remaining in the 2018 regular season. The Series returns to action next Sunday, July 29, at Pocono Raceway for the second event of 2018 at the “Tricky Triangle”.