Hamlin Overcomes Two Penalties to Win at TexasApril 1, 2019
Denny Hamlin notched his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season at Texas Motor Speedway after overcoming two penalties in the #11 FedEx Camry during the 334-lap race.
Hamlin took the lead for the final time with just 12 laps remaining, following a pit stop for a splash of fuel that sealed the victory for the FedEx team. However, Hamlin's race up to that point was anything but easy, as he suffered two pit road penalties, one for speeding and one for an uncontrolled tire that would send the #11 to the back of the field each time. But Hamlin had a fast Toyota Camry and the penalties allowed him to show the rest of the field just how good the FedEx car was.
“We had a really fast FedEx Camry today, just really fast,” said Hamlin. “I told the team over the radio when I was making my way through the pack after the penalties, This really stinks because we're probably not going to win with the fastest car. It was fun passing all those cars, it really was. It was great, we had such a fast car and that's how we were able to make up time there at the end.
Hamlin started the race sixth and maintained his position near the front throughout the early part of the race. But during the teams first stop, Hamlin was caught speeding while exiting pit road, sending the FedEx car to the rear of the field, eventually crossing the line 19th at the conclusion of Stage 1.
Stage 2 saw the #11 put on a show as Hamlin methodically pick off cars as the laps clicked. With nothing to lose, crew chief Chris Gabehart changed up the teams strategy during a late Stage caution, calling Hamlin to pit road for fuel only. The gamble paid off and Hamlin restarted from the lead with 12 laps to go in the segment. Hamlin was able to hold off the cars with fresher tires to take the Stage win.
The Stage 2 win was short lived when the team suffered an uncontrolled tire penalty, sending Hamlin to the back of the pack for the second time. Gabehart changed up the strategy again, pitting Hamlin off sequence with fresh tires for the first stop, and fuel only for the final two pit stops that allowed Hamlin to get his third career Texas Motor Speedway victory.
Hamlin maintained the second spot in the championship standings following the win.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the 500-lap race on Sunday, April 7.