Friday, March 28, 2014

Denny Hamlin 'confident' at being 'able to run up front' at Martinsville

Hamlin loves Martinsville. He's 8/1 to win there on Sunday
Event: STP 500
Date/Time: March 30/1:00 p.m. ET
2013 winner: Jimmie Johnson
2013 polesitter: Jimmie Johnson
Distance: 500 laps/263 miles
Track Length: 0.526-mile
Banking: 12 degrees
Track Shape: Oval


Fontana Recap:
Sam Hornish Jr. filled in for Denny Hamlin and finished 17th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota. Hornish, who found out less than an hour before the green flag that Hamlin was unable to participate, started from the rear of the field in his first Cup race in nearly a year to record a top-20 finish in the event won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Hamlin qualified 13th on Friday, but just before the race on Sunday, was not cleared by medical personnel to race due to an eye irritation that was affecting his vision, later discovered to be a small sliver of metal. Although he had to start from the rear due to the driver change, Hornish immediately moved forward in the running order. Learning about the car on each lap, Hornish avoided a rash of tire problems that plagued many teams, and moved into the top-20 for the final half of the race. Quick work on pit road by the FedEx crew and increased confidence behind the wheel had Hornish on the cusp of the top-10 with less than 50 laps remaining. However, contact from behind in Turn 2 sent the #11 machine up the race track and nearly into the wall, with Hornish saving the car from spinning but losing 10 spots on the track. He made his way back up to 15th for the “green-white-checkered” restart following a caution flag with two laps remaining, and settled for 17th at the end.

Martinsville Preview: Denny Hamlin returns to the seat of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota for Sunday’s 500-lap race at Martinsville Speedway. Arguably one of Hamlin’s best tracks on the circuit, the 33-year-old Virginia native has four wins at the half-mile ‘paper clip,’ including three in a row from 2009 to 2010. Hamlin has three poles at Martinsville, including the fall race at the track last October, where he led 14 laps and finished seventh. In 16 career Martinsville starts, Hamlin has recorded 13 top-10 finishes and has led at least 12 laps in 12 events. He missed the spring 2013 event due to injury, and Mark Martin drove the #11 FedEx Toyota to a 10th-place finish.

FedEx Office – Closest to Martinsville Speedway: 3731 Battleground Ave., Greensboro, NC 27410, (336) 282-5650


Are you eager to get back in the car at Martinsville, one of your best tracks?

“It crushed me last week not being able to compete for the guys on the FedEx team. I definitely have extra motivation this weekend at Martinsville, a place that has been a pretty good track for our team over the years. Obviously, with my injury last year, I missed the race one year ago, and we were a little off last fall. But, I’m confident that we will be able to run up front and compete for the win this weekend. I’m feeling better and can’t wait to get back in the car on Friday for practice.”

- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing

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