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Hamlin Finishes 24th in iRacing Pro Invitational Series Race at Texas Motor Speedway

March 30, 2020

Denny Hamlin finished 24th in Sunday’s iRacing Pro Invitational Series virtual NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway, after a late-race speeding penalty put him back in the running order followed by an on-track incident in the closing laps. Timmy Hill was the race winner.

Hamlin qualified 17th and decided to fall to the back of the field at the start to avoid wrecks near the front. With only one “reset” in the race, meaning a new car with no damage, Hamlin felt it was imperative to keep his nose clean early on. He moved up in the order following a pit strategy to stay out during a caution mid-race to take the lead for a restart, but the older tires proved disadvantageous, as he slid back near 20th position. From there, he worked back up near the top-10 before a round of green flag pit stops. However, Hamlin sped entering pit road and incurred a 40-second penalty, dropping him two laps down.

A bevy of late-race cautions bunched the field, and Hill – a long time iRacing competitor – took the victory by a narrow margin over Ryan Preece. Garrett Smithley, Landon Cassill and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five.

“We had a distinct strategy and I screwed it up,” said Hamlin. “We decided to hang back in the early part of the race to conserve tires and avoid the wrecks, and everything seemed to be going according to plan. We got off-strategy a bit in the middle of the race, but felt like we were in a good spot before I messed up on pit road.”

Hamlin was driving a special #11 Thank you FedEx team members paint scheme for the race.