Hamlin Recovers from Wreck to Finish Sixth at Virtual DoverMay 4, 2020
Denny Hamlin earned a top-10 eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series finish at virtual Dover International Speedway, recovering from a late-race tangle that forced him to pit road for repairs.
Hamlin’s #11 FedEx “Delivering Strength” Toyota was the fastest car in qualifying, but a top-10 inversion for the start of the race placed him in 10th for the green flag. The car was quick, and tire strategy put Hamlin out front to lead nine laps early in the 150-lap event.
As the race progressed, Hamlin’s virtual Camry showed good long-run speed, but frequent cautions kept stalling out his attempts to drive back to the front. Then on Lap 135, the #38 of John Hunter Nemechek pushed Hamlin up into the wall in what appeared to be payback for a bump-and-run pass by Hamlin on Nemechek several laps earlier. Nemechek was subsequently removed from the race.
After using his “quick repair” reset on pit road, Hamlin returned to the track in 16th and then powered his way up to sixth for the checkered flag. William Byron won the race for his third victory in the Pro Invitational Series.
“Our FedEx ‘Delivering Strength’ Toyota was pretty good today,” Hamlin said. “We got off a little bit on our tire strategy, with the cautions not falling at the right time. But we were able to drive back up through the pack, and I thought we still had a top-three car. We had a little battle with John Hunter Nemechek that resulted in him crashing us, but we were able to make repairs and come back for a top-10 finish.”
The Pro Invitational Series will wrap up on Saturday, May 9, at virtual North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway – a track that has not hosted a real NASCAR Cup Series race since 1996. Drivers will then leave their simulators behind to go back to the track on May 17, when Cup Series racing resumes at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.