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Mar 14, 2013 - 06:39 AM
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2013 Bristol: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Mar 14, 2013 - 06:35 AM
2013 Bristol: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

Event: Food City 500
Date/Time: March 17/1 p.m. ET
2012 winner: Brad Keselowski
2012 polesitter: Greg Biffle
Distance: 500 laps/266.5
Track Length: 0.533-mile
Banking: 36 degrees
Track Shape: Oval


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2013 FedEx Racing Press Kit – Available for Download: Please visit www.fedexracing.com/presskit for the 2013 FedEx Racing press materials, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Darian Grubb and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights, program statistics and the 2013 crew roster.

Las Vegas Recap: Denny Hamlin finished 15th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, unable to overcome a pit road speeding penalty under green flag conditions midway through the 400-mile event won by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. Hamlin made a pit stop on Lap 116 of the 267-lap race for four tires and fuel after driving from 11th into the top-five, but was too fast entering the pits and was charged with a ‘pass through’ penalty. The penalty dropped Hamlin one lap down and off pit sequence with the lead group. The FedEx Racing team got its lap back under caution on Lap 161 via the free pass, and restarted 17th. After another extended green flag period and yellow flag that saw the leaders come to pit road for service, crew chief Darian Grubb elected to keep Hamlin out to gain track position. He restarted as the leader and settled into the top-five with less than 50 laps remaining. Hamlin made a stop for two tires and fuel from fifth with 42 laps to go, as the team was within its window to make it the distance, while others still had to stop, and the #11 team was hoping the race would stay green to the conclusion. However, a caution came out a short time later, and Hamlin was again trapped a lap down. Using the wave around, Hamlin restarted in 19th and was able to make it up to 15th by the checkered flag. Kenseth won, followed by Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. Hamlin started sixth and ran among the top-10 throughout the first half of the race, battling a loose race car on the slick, bumpy surface. The finish kept Hamlin fourth in the NASCAR standings following Las Vegas, 27 points behind Jimmie Johnson after three of 26 regular season races.

Bristol Preview: The FedEx Racing team heads to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 500-lap race on the 0.533-mile event. Hamlin was victorious the last time NASCAR was at Bristol, leading 70 laps en route to Victory Lane in the night race last August. Hamlin started eighth in that race and used a late-race pass on Edwards for his third win of the 2012 season. Hamlin has 14 career Cup starts at Bristol, recording seven top-10 finishes and leading 352 laps. Hamlin started 20th and finished 20th in the spring race at Bristol one year ago. He had a string of four-straight top-six finishes at Bristol from March 2008 to August 2009.

Cookville, Tenn., Along for the Ride in Bristol: The FedEx Freight service center in Cookeville, Tennessee, provides both FedEx Freight Priority and FedEx Freight Economy services throughout the state. Opening in March 1991, the Cookville center will be recognized for its outstanding service with its ‘CJE’ code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota this weekend.

HAMLIN CONVERSATION – Bristol Motor Speedway:

What does it mean to come back to Bristol after getting that breakthrough win there last August?

“Our Bristol win last summer was one of the biggest victories of my career. No track ever owes you a win, but throughout my career, we had been close at Bristol before, leading late and having something happen. Last year, our car was so good and we kept making it better and better through the night. I knew I had to get to the lead as soon as possible, because if another caution came out, I would’ve had to restart on the bottom, which would’ve been tough. Bristol is such a historic track and it was great to get our FedEx team into victory lane. Now, I want to do it again.”

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