Thursday, September 22, 2011

Denny Hamlin New Hampshire Notes

New Hampshire has typically been a great race track for Denny Hamlin
Event: Sylvania 300
Distance: 300 laps/317.4 miles
Track Length: 1 mile
Banking: 7 degrees
Track Shape: Oval


Chicagoland Recap: Denny Hamlin finished 31st in Monday’s rain-postponed NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Series championship opener at Chicagoland Speedway, making two unscheduled pit stops under green for a pair of unforeseen problems in the 267-lap event won by Tony Stewart. Hamlin was battling for the ‘lucky dog’ position on the final restart with 50 laps remaining when contact in turn 2 cut a tire on the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, forcing Hamlin to pit road before limping to the checkered flag, three laps down to the leaders.

The #11 machine started 27th in the 400-mile race, postponed from Sunday due to rain, and Hamlin worked with crew chief Mike Ford during the first few runs to find the car’s proper balance. After a pit stop on Lap 78, Hamlin felt a vibration in the car and was forced to pit a second time, falling two laps down to the leaders in 37th place. Hamlin and Ford worked throughout the race’s midpoint looking for an opportunity to gain back some lost track position, and were fortunate to have a caution come out right after getting the ‘wave around’ during the previous yellow to get one of the laps back.

However, running near the top-20 and hoping for a break to get back on the lead lap for the final run of the day, cars were three wide on the final restart and Hamlin was tagged on the left side, causing a fender to rub on the tire, which eventually cut down. The finish keeps Hamlin 12th in the Chase standings, and he now trails points leader Kevin Harvick by 41 markers.

New Hampshire Preview: The Series shifts to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Round 2 of the 2011 Chase. Hamlin owns the best average finish (7.2) at the one-mile oval among all active drivers, and has one victory (July 2007) and eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts at New Hampshire. The 30-year-old Virginia native started 14th and finished third to Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart in the July event at the track this year. One year ago, Hamlin was runner-up to race winner Clint Bowyer in the New Hampshire Chase race. Hamlin has completed 100 percent of the possible laps at New Hampshire (3,267) in his career.

HAMLIN CONVERSATION – New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
What are your feelings on New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“It is a great track and a place that has been good for this team in the past. This track is faster than you would think so you need horsepower to take advantage of the long straights, but getting through, and off, the corner is where you win or lose at New Hampshire. It’s definitely a little bit different than any other track we go to because it almost seems like it’s banked in the other direction on the bottom. But you can go way up high or run on the bottom so there are some options for you to find a fast line. I like the tracks that demand you to feel your way through the corner and New Hampshire is one of those tracks. You need to find that rhythm, hit your marks getting into the corner so you can roll through the center and get back on the gas as soon as possible for the next straight. New Hampshire can be a tricky place to pass so we’ll be looking to qualify close to the front because that goes a long way at this track. We know we need to be running in the top-five or top-10 all day to be in position at the end.”

- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing, Press Release

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