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Jun 04, 2014 - 06:18 AM
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2014 Pocono: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 04, 2014 - 06:17 AM
2014 Pocono: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

Event: Pocono 400
Date/Time: June 8/1 p.m. ET
2013 winner: Jimmie Johnson
2013 polesitter: Jimmie Johnson
Distance: 160 laps/400 miles
Track Length: 2.5 miles
Banking: 14/8/6 degrees
Track Shape: Triangle


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FedEx 400 Recap: Denny Hamlin finished fifth in Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in the #11 FedEx Freight/Autism Speaks Toyota. A late-race pit stop under caution for right-side tires put Hamlin eighth for the four-lap shootout to the checkered flag, and he utilized the fresh rubber to record his best finish at Dover since 2010. Jimmie Johnson was victorious, followed by Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer. Hamlin started seventh and quickly worked into the top-five in the early going. He maintained position inside the top-10 until the team’s first pit stop, when Hamlin was caught speeding on pit road and forced to the tail end of the field for the restart. He picked off positions and used a handful of caution periods to make up track position. Hamlin drove from 25th up to 11th just past the race’s midpoint, and used some tire strategy on pit road to move back into the top-five. Crew Chief Darian Grubb called for a handful of adjustments to the #11 machine as track conditions changed, and a long green flag run prior to the race’s final caution on Lap 394 set up the restart to the finish. With the finish, Hamlin moved up five spots to ninth in the NASCAR standings following Dover, and trails leader Matt Kenseth by 84 points after 13 of 26 regular season races.

Different Drive: Hamlin will participate in Wednesday’s pro-am golf tournament that is part of the FedEx St. Jude Classic weekend at the TPC Southwind course in Memphis. Hamlin will be joined at the tournament by fellow Sprint Cup Series driver, and Olive Branch, Miss., native Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Pocono Preview: The Series heads to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway for Sunday’s 400-mile event at the “Tricky Triangle.” Hamlin is second among active drivers with four-career Pocono victories, including sweeping both races from the pole at the 2.5-mile track in his 2006 rookie campaign. He was also victorious in August 2009 and June 2010 at Pocono, and has recorded nine top-10 finishes in 14 career starts at the track. Hamlin has led a total of 663 laps at Pocono, and has led at least 17 laps in 10 races. He finished eighth at Pocono one year ago.

Western Rockies Along for the Ride in Pocono: The FedEx Ground Western Rockies district will be recognized for its commitment to delivering outstanding customer experience with its district code “WROK” on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota. The Western Rockies district extends from its Salt Lake City hub to include most of Idaho, Nevada and Utah.

Has the FedEx team found the handle at Pocono after the repave?

“We have certainly struggled a bit since Pocono was repaved a couple years ago, but as the surface ages and wears, I think we’ll be able to get it back. I love the flatter race tracks that wear out the tires, and I’m ready to get to Pocono to build on the momentum we established at Dover last weekend. We are making some gains as a race team and figuring some things out that will help us during these summer months. We have some good tracks coming up for our FedEx team, and hopefully we’ll be able to capitalize with some wins.”

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