Thursday, July 25, 2013

Denny Hamlin hoping Indy test session is key to success this week

Hamlin was on the pole last season
Event: Samuel Deeds 400
Date/Time: July 28/1 p.m. ET
2012 winner: Jimmie Johnson
2012 polesitter: Denny Hamlin
Distance: 160 laps/400 miles
Track Length: 2.5 miles
Banking: 9 degrees
Track Shape: Oval


New Hampshire Recap: Denny Hamlin finished 21st in the most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 14), overcoming a pit road penalty and blown right-front tire to climb back into the top-10 in the closing laps before a late-race restart shuffled the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota back before the checkered flag. Hamlin and crew chief Darian Grubb opted for right-side tires from ninth place under caution prior to a ‘green-white-checkered’ finish, where he restarted 19th. However, traffic bottled up into Turn 1 after the green flag, and Hamlin was unable to make up spots in the two-lap dash won by Brian Vickers. The FedEx team started seventh in the 302-lap event at the ‘Magic Mile.’ After a pair of early incidents, a long run saw Hamlin make his first stop under green flag conditions near Lap 80, with Grubb calling for four tires and a wedge adjustment to help a tight condition in the center of the corner. Unfortunately, a loose lug nut on the left-rear forced Hamlin back to pit road, where he lost a lap to the leaders. Less than 50 laps later, while battling for the lucky dog position, Hamlin felt his right-front tire going down. The tire went flat and Hamlin was able to keep it off the wall, and he returned to the pits forrepairs. Hamlin kept in position for the free pass through the race’s midpoint, and the team caught a break following a caution on Lap 211, putting the #11 machine back on the lead lap. Hamlin made a charge through the field back into the top-10 with less than 50 laps to go. A debris caution on Lap 298 bunched the field for the final restart.

Indianapolis Preview: Following the final off-weekend of the season, the Series heads to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 400-mile event on the 2.5-mile oval. Hamlin is making his eighth career start at the Brickyard, with a career-best finish of third coming in the 2008 event at the track, when he lead 26 laps. One year ago, Hamlin qualified on the pole for the race and led 27 laps en route to a sixth-place finish in the race won by Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates tested at the track earlier this month..


How did the test help you prepare for this weekend at Indianapolis?
“Any time you get the chance to test a track prior to a race weekend, you’ll learn some valuable information to bring back. We had a pretty good test at the track a few weeks back, and were able to go through a bunch of things to get us ready for this weekend. Indianapolis has such a great racing history, and our FedEx team was proud to start on the pole in the 400 last year. It was a great achievement for our race team and one that we can build off as we try to get to victory lane this year. The Brickyard is one of NASCAR’s signature events and hopefully our #11 FedEx Express Camry is up to the challenge on Sunday.”

- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing

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