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Feb 26, 2014 - 02:02 PM
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2014 Phoenix: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Feb 26, 2014 - 01:59 PM
2014 Phoenix: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

Event: The Profit on CNBC 500
Date/Time: March 2 at 1:00 p.m. MT
2013 winner: Carl Edwards
2013 polesitter: Mark Martin
Distance: 312 laps/312 miles
Track Length: 1 mile
Banking: 9/11 degrees
Track Shape: Oval


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Successful SpeedWeeks: Denny Hamlin charged from sixth to second on the final lap of Sunday’s rain-delayed Daytona 500 to score his best-career finish in the “Great American Race” in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota behind eventual winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hamlin lined up sixth for a restart with three laps remaining, and used the momentum on the outside groove in the draft to push towards the front. Coming off Turn 2 on the final lap, Hamlin dove to the inside and reached the back bumper of Earnhardt Jr. entering Turn 3. Before he could make a move for the win, a wreck further back brought out the caution, securing a runner-up finish for the FedEx Racing Team. The race was delayed more than six hours due to rain after the initial 38 laps were run. When the race resumed under the lights, Hamlin and the team fought through radio communication issues, which prevented Hamlin from clearly hearing his spotter for the final three-quarters of the race. Hamlin started fourth and led three times for a total of 16 (of 200) laps on Sunday. He ran among the lead group throughout the event, and the runner-up finish capped an impressive SpeedWeeks for the #11 team, which included victories in the Sprint Unlimited and a Budweiser Duel qualifying race.

Phoenix Preview: The Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for Sunday’s 312-lap event at the recently-reconfigured one-mile desert oval. Hamlin is making his 18th career Cup Series start at PIR this weekend, a place where the #11 FedEx machine has recorded eight top-five finishes in 17 previous events. Hamlin was victorious in the spring race at Phoenix in 2012, in his second race with crew chief Darian Grubb. Hamlin recorded his first-career Sprint Cup Series pole position at Phoenix in November 2005, in just his sixth-career start. In the event one year ago, Hamlin started eighth and finished third.

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