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Hamlin Charges Back from Speeding Penalty to Earn Top-Five Finish at Bristol

April 8, 2019

Denny Hamlin overcame adversity to register a strong finish once again, finishing fifth at Bristol Motor Speedway after a speeding penalty knocked him out of the lead and sent him to the rear of the field.

Hamlin started fifth in the FedEx Freight Toyota and ran in positions from first to 15th in the first half of the 500-lap race. A strategic, two-tire pit stop call by crew chief Chris Gabehart in Stage 3 had Denny positioned to take the lead on a restart with fewer than 100 laps to go, but a pit-road speeding penalty forced him to the rear of the field.

Relegated to 15th, Denny and the #11 FedEx team went to work to get back toward the front. Gabehart gave his driver fresh tires at every opportunity for the remainder of the race, including under a caution when none of the leaders came to pit road. The strategy paid off, with Denny passing his way up to a fifth-place finish.

“We didn’t really have a top-five car for much of the race, but my crew chief gave me options that helped us finish in the top five,” Hamlin said. “I’m mad at myself for speeding, but I’m proud of this team for grinding and having a strategy that allowed me to be aggressive at the end.”

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads next to Denny’s home track of Richmond Raceway for a Saturday night race on April 13.