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May 16, 2014 - 07:47 AM
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2014 Charlotte (All-Star): Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on May 16, 2014 - 07:46 AM
2014 Charlotte (All-Star): Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

Event: Sprint All-Star Race
Date/Time: May 18/9 p.m. ET
2013 winner: Jimmie Johnson
2013 polesitter: Jamie McMurray
Distance: 90 laps/145 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Banking: 24 degrees
Track Shape: Quad-Oval


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Kansas Recap: Denny Hamlin finished 18th in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway after battling handling issues with the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota throughout the 267-lap event won by Jeff Gordon. Hamlin started 30th and was lapped early by pole-sitter Kevin Harvick, but after two quick cautions, the #11 machine was back on the lead lap and running in the top-20. By lap 60, Hamlin had the FedEx car up to sixth, but 10 laps later, he spun without contact to bring out another yellow, and said the car was too loose at both ends of the track.

Crew chief Darian Grubb and the FedEx crew made adjustments to the chassis of #11 Toyota Camry on every pit stop, but couldn’t dial in enough grip he needed for the 1.5-mile track. Pit strategy and cautions helped Denny advance to second with nine laps to go, but the fuel was running low and Hamlin had to pit for a splash of gas, returning to the race in 18th, where he finished. The result kept Hamlin in 12th place in the NASCAR standings, 76 points behind leader Gordon after 11 of 26 regular season races.

All-Star Race Preview: The Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at the 1.5-mile oval. Hamlin will make his eighth All-Star appearance in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, a non-points event reserved for 2013 and 2014 race winners, previous NASCAR champions and former All-Star Race winners. Hamlin qualified for the event with his victory in last year’s season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and a win earlier this month at Talladega Superspeedway ensured him a place in next year’s event.

The race, broken down into five segments, will consist of four 20-lap heats before a 10-lap dash to the checkered flag. Hamlin has four top-10 finishes in seven previous All-Star starts, including career-best fourth-place runs in 2009 and 2010. He has led a total of 25 laps in the All-Star Race. He competed in the All-Star Open as a rookie in 2006, finishing fourth. The top-two finishers in the Open, combined with the Sprint Fan Vote winner, will transfer for Saturday night’s main event.

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