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Hamlin Notches Sixth-Place Finish in Back-up Car at Indianapolis

September 9, 2019

Denny Hamlin drove a back-up car from the rear of the field to a sixth-place finish in NASCAR’s regular-season finale Sunday at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway.

A Saturday practice crash forced the team to qualify a back-up car, which lined up 33rd for Sunday’s Brickyard 400. Hamlin then had to drop to the rear during the pace laps, per NASCAR rules.

Despite a tight-handling condition in his FedEx Express Toyota, and some damage from multiple on-track and pit-road contact incidents, Hamlin was able to make up a lot of ground from the rear of the field. He climbed into the top 10 by the end of Stage 1 and was 15th at the end of Stage 2. The car was the tightest it had been all day in Stage 3, preventing him from making a charge all the way to the front, but he maintained a spot in the top 10 until the checkered flag to cross the line in sixth.

“Passing isn’t very easy at this track,” Hamlin said. “We did make a lot of progress from the back, but not enough to get all the way to the front. I’m proud of this FedEx team for all we’ve accomplished so far this season, and we’re excited to get the Playoffs started and keep working our way toward a championship.”

Hamlin finished the regular season fourth in championship points and second in the Playoff ranks. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs kick off Sunday, Sept. 15, at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.