Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Things looking up for Denny Hamlin on down force tracks

Denny Hamlin is 12/1 to win Saturday night in Texas
Denny Hamlin
#11 FedEx Office Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Race Info:
Race: Duck Commander 500
Date/Time: April 11/6:30 p.m. CT
Distance: 334 laps/501 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Track Shape: Oval
Banking: 24 degrees
2014 Winner: Joey Logano

Express Notes:
Martinsville Recap:
Denny Hamlin scored his 25th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 29 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hamlin passed teammate Matt Kenseth with 28 laps to go and held off a hard-charging Brad Keselowski for his fifth win at the half-mile ‘paper clip.’ The #11 FedEx Express Toyota was the class of the field for much of the 500-lap event, with Hamlin moving up from his 15th-place starting position to take the lead for the first time on Lap 148. However, a penalty for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop just 20 laps later sent him back to the tail end of the field, forcing him to work through traffic another time. The 34-year-old Virginia native methodically advanced through the field in the close racing quarters to move into the top-five with less than 100 laps to go. When the race’s final caution came out on Lap 461, Hamlin restarted fifth in the preferred inside groove. He worked his way into second before a calculated pass of Kenseth to regain the lead on Lap 473. Hamlin took the checkered flag 0.186 seconds ahead of Keselowski. The victory all but guarantees a Chase berth for Hamlin, who has made the NASCAR playoffs in eight of nine seasons dating back to his 2006 rookie campaign.

Texas Preview: The Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway following an off-weekend for Sunday’s 501-mile event on the fast, 1.5-mile oval. Hamlin is a two-time Texas winner, sweeping both races at the track during his eight-win 2010 season. He has 10 top-10 finishes in 18 starts at Texas, and has led 154 laps at the track, including 23 in last year’s events. In the spring race at Texas one year ago, Hamlin was in the top-five with less than 10 laps remaining before a pit road speeding penalty dropped him to 13th at the finish. He finished 10th in the Chase race at the track last November. Hamlin will get a familiar face back on pit road this weekend. Jack man Nate Bolling, who suffered a triceps injury during the off-season, will make his season debut pitting the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this Saturday night at Texas.

Hamlin Statistics:
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Races: 18
Wins: 2
Top-5: 5
Top-10: 10
Average Start: 16.4
Average Finish: 10.8
Laps Led: 154

Hamlin Conversation:

How does the Martinsville victory change your outlook for the rest of the regular season?

“The win obviously takes a lot of pressure off our FedEx team. Getting a victory so early in the season will allow us to work on our program, try some things and try to get better for the Chase. We are ahead of where we were at this point one year ago, and each week we seem to get a little bit more speed. Now, with a Chase berth pretty much locked up, we can take a few more chances to try to get more wins. We still have a lot of work to do, but hopefully Martinsville is a springboard for our team. We have a lot of good tracks coming up for us and I’m excited to get back out there.”

Miami Store Along for the Ride in Texas: The FedEx Office location in Miami, a leading store in the company’s annual President’s Club program, will be recognized with its “1574” code numbers on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

FedEx Office – Closest to Texas Motor Speedway: 8509 Davis Blvd., North Richland Hills, TX 76180, (817) 281-9014

- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing

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