Hamlin Finishes 17th in Clash at DaytonaFebruary 11, 2019
Denny Hamlin finished 17th in Sunday’s rain-shortened Clash at Daytona, unable to avoid a multi-car wreck that unfolded at the front of the field with 20 laps remaining in the 75-lap, non-points event, won by Jimmie Johnson.
Hamlin was scheduled to start the race17th, but had to drop the rear of the field after a practice crash on Saturday forced the FedEx team to go to a backup car for the race.
Starting from the back of the field, Hamlin strategically picked off cars from the start, and by the time the first race segment was complete, had made his way up to fourth, where he would start the final 50-lap run to the checkered flag.
On the ensuing restart, Hamlin maneuvered his #11 machine up to second, prior to the race being halted for light rain.
When the race resumed, Hamlin claimed his spot on the front row on the inside line, for what would become the final restart with 28 laps to go. But with little aerodynamic help coming from the low line of cars, the preferred outside lane took off, dropping Hamlin back to eighth before he was able to squeeze into the high line. However, the move proved futile as just two laps later the melee up front claimed all but five cars of the 20-car field.
During the accident cleanup process, heavy rain began to fall, forcing NASCAR to call the race due to the inclement weather, resulting in the 17th place finish for the FedEx team.
“It was really tough to pass out there today, especially if you were in the bottom lane,” said Hamlin. “Everyone knew the rain was coming and we were all trying to get to the front, I guess a couple cars got together up front and the track was completely blocked with nowhere to go.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series begins their official season next Sunday, February 17, with the 61st running of the Daytona 500.