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Aug 01, 2014 - 05:59 PM
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2014 Pocono II: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Aug 01, 2014 - 05:55 PM
2014 Pocono II: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

Indianapolis Recap: Denny Hamlin finished third in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis. Hamlin and crew chief Darian Grubb gambled on an alternate fuel strategy that went awry when the tank wasn't completely filled on what was supposed to have been the team's penultimate pit stop. The #11 FedEx Express Toyota started 27th and entered the pits in 21st when a competition caution flag was waved on lap 20. Great pit work by the FedEx crew saw Hamlin pick up five spots after getting fuel, four new tires and a chassis adjustment to tighten up the car. By lap 45, he was in the lead and ahead of second place by four seconds. He continued to stretch his lead until a green flag stop at lap 55, returning to the famed two-and-a-half-mile oval in 11th. On lap 68 another caution came out just as Hamlin took the lead after green flag pit stops had cycled through. Grubb continued with the team’s strategy and told Hamlin to stay out, but to conserve as much fuel as possible. Worn tires contributed to Hamlin falling back to sixth after the restart. As the varying race strategies played out, the #11 machine was poised to make one less stop for fuel than the rest of the field. Hamlin made a scheduled green flag pit stop at lap 90 and returned to the race in 28th place. Six laps later, after realizing the tank hadn't been completely filled, Hamlin was forced to pit under caution for fuel in order to get back in sequence with the rest of the field. After restarting 13th with 59 laps to go, Hamlin worked his way up to fifth with 25 laps remaining. The final caution came out with 20 laps to go with Hamlin running fifth behind Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. On the final restart, Hamlin worked with his JGR teammates and took advantage of a shot of momentum exiting turn two. Hamlin seized the opportunity and made a daring three-wide pass down the backstretch, catapulting him to third.


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Pocono Preview: The Series heads to Pocono 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 11 top-10 finishes in 17 career starts at the track. Hamlin has led a total of 667 laps at Pocono, and has led at least 17 laps in 10 races. He finished fourth at Pocono in June. With NASCAR’s ruling concerning a rules infraction at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hamlin dropped to 21st in the standings after being docked 75 championship points. Holding one victory on the season (Talladega), the team remains in strong contention for qualifying for the Chase. Mike Wheeler, who has been on the #11 team since its inception in 2005 and is a current team engineer, is stepping in as crew chief, with JGR veteran Chris Gillin stepping in as car chief.

FedEx Office – Closest to Pocono Raceway: 940 Schecter Drive, Ste 1, Wilkes Barre, PA 18702, (570) 819-0813

FedEx Office Westin LAX Along for the Ride in Pocono: The FedEx Office at the Westin Los Angeles Airport will be recognized with its district code “5588” on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota at Pocono for being the leading Hotel & Convention store team in the company’s annual President’s Club program. The program recognizes champion results for FedEx Office locations in key performance and service areas.

What was your reaction to NASCAR’s ruling after Indianapolis?

"I'm obviously disappointed in the penalties, but I respect NASCAR and the appeal process. I’m confident that regardless of the outcome, our 11 team will continue to fight each week to try to win races, secure a spot in the Chase and compete for the championship."

What are your thoughts heading back to Pocono this weekend?

“We feel like we’re getting back on track at Pocono since the repave a couple of years ago with the pole and fourth place finish in June,” said Hamlin. “Obviously it’s a different track than it was when we were able to take both Poconos in 2006, but I still really like the track and feel like the team has the right pieces to continue our success there.”

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