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Hamlin Battles Back to Earn Seventh-Place Finish at Fontana

March 18, 2019

Denny Hamlin overcame multiple challenges to earn a seventh-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Sunday, leading laps and scoring stage points in the 400-mile race.

Denny started the 200-lap event sixth, and took the lead twice within the first 12 laps. He also led for multiple laps late in the first stage.

The later stages of the race dealt the #11 team a couple of setbacks, including a caution flag that flew right after the team pitted under green, putting Denny a lap down, and a speeding penalty that sent him to the back of the pack for a Stage 3 restart. Each time, the team battled back, with a fast FedEx Express Toyota propelling the team back into the top 10.

Sunday’s performance allowed Denny to maintain his fourth-place position in the championship standings after five races.

“Our FedEx Toyota was fast,” said Hamlin. “I was as good or better than everyone else, but we struggled on the long run and had the speeding penalty. And, for the third time this season, we pitted right when the caution came out. But, we bounced back and still got a top-10 finish, so I’m proud of our effort.”

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads next to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday, March 24, for 500 laps of short-track racing.