|Denny Hamlin is 12/1 to win at Talladega on Sunday|
#11 FedEx Express Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing
Race: GEICO 500
Date/Time: May 1/12:00 p.m. CT
Distance: 88 laps/500 miles
Track Length: 2.66 miles
Track Shape: Oval
Banking: 33 degrees
2015 Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Richmond Recap: Denny Hamlin finished sixth in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, overcoming an early pit road violation and persistent battery issues to log his fourth top-10 finish of the 2016 season in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota. The Chesterfield, Va., native lined up seventh for the final restart and held off teammate Matt Kenseth over the final 30 laps in the event won by Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards.
Hamlin started fifth and ran among the top-three throughout the long green flag run to begin the race. It was a breakaway at the front of the pack with Edwards, Kyle Busch and Hamlin holding a big advantage over the rest of the field. Following a round of green flag pit stops, the race’s first caution came on Lap 150. Hamlin pitted for another set of fresh tires, but unfortunately, the right-rear got away from the team during the stop, and Hamlin had to start at the tail end of the field for the “uncontrolled tire” violation. He spent the middle portion of the race working through traffic, and rejoined the top 10 with 150 laps to go. Following a series of late-race cautions and quick work by the FedEx crew on pit road, Hamlin battled in the top 10 for the remainder of the event. The finish moved Hamlin up one spot to eighth in the NASCAR standings following Richmond.
Talladega Preview: The Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday’s 500-mile event on the high-banked 2.66-mile Alabama oval. Hamlin won the first restrictor-plate race of the season in the Daytona 500, as well as the exhibition Sprint Unlimited earlier this year. He won the spring Talladega event in 2014 and finished ninth in the race one year ago. He has 227 career laps led at Talladega.
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Average Start: 19.2
Average Finish: 19.4
Laps Led: 227
Hamlin Conversation — TALLADEGA:
Is the restrictor plate program the strongest for the FedEx team?
“We have certainly shown over the last few years to have a lot of speed at the (restrictor) plate tracks. A lot of it is putting yourself in good positions during the race, and working the draft patiently to move forward. Obviously, winning the Unlimited and the (Daytona) 500 earlier this year gives our FedEx team a lot of confidence heading into this weekend at Talladega.”
Manchester, N.H., Along for the Ride at Talladega: The FedEx Express ramp in Manchester, N.H. will be recognized with its “MHTR” code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota this weekend at Talladega.
NASCAR Loop Data for Denny Hamlin at Talladega
· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 19.400, ninth-best
· Average Running Position of 18.055, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 82.9, seventh-best
· 85 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 193.196, 10th-fastest
· 1812 Laps in the Top 15 (47.6), 11th-most
· 4039 Quality Passes, seventh-most
- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing