|Denny Hamlin has six straight top-fives coming into Darlington.|
#11 FedEx Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing
Race: Bojangles’ Southern 500
Date/Time: September 1/6:00 p.m. ET
Distance: 367 laps/501.3 miles
Track Length: 1.36 miles
Track Shape: Egged-shaped oval
2018 Winner: Brad Keselowski
Bristol (Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race) Recap: Denny Hamlin stormed from two laps down to win the Aug. 17 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, passing Matt DiBenedetto with 11 laps remaining to capture his fourth victory of the season. Hamlin lined up ninth for the final restart with 113 laps to go, and methodically picked off positions toward the front. He made it into the top five with less than 75 to go, and then up to second with 40 laps remaining. He worked the high line to catch DiBenedetto and then dove to the bottom to complete the pass. The race was not without incident for the #11 FedEx Team. An early wreck happened right in front of Hamlin while leading, and he was collected in it to sustain right-side damage. Repairs dropped him outside the top 10 for Stage 1 (11th), where he was seemingly mired in traffic. Then in Stage 2, Hamlin felt a loose wheel vibration and made an unscheduled stop on Lap 189, putting him two laps down to the field when the caution flew shortly thereafter. The wave-around got one lap back, and then Hamlin got the free pass with six laps to go in Stage 2 after a host of cautions late in that segment. Hamlin restarted the final segment just inside the top-20 before making his charge to the front. The finish vaulted Hamlin to third in the NASCAR point standings following Bristol, 77 points behind leader Kyle Busch with two races remaining in the regular season.
Darlington “NASCAR Throwback” Preview: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads next to “The Lady in Black” for 367 laps of action at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 1. With only two regular season races left, Hamlin and team will look to continue their fine form as playoff racing is right around the corner. Additionally, the FedEx #11 will be participating in the NASCAR “throwback” tradition by honoring Darrell Waltrip. Chosen by Denny Hamlin and the Joe Gibbs Racing team, the special design replicates the scheme from Waltrip’s final race win at Darlington in 1992 and pays homage to his legendary racing and broadcasting career in the sport of NASCAR.
Hamlin Darlington Statistics:
Track: Darlington Raceway
Wins: 2 (2010, 2017)
Poles: 1 (2018)
Laps Led: 562
Avg. Start: 8.8
Avg. Finish 6.2
Can you tell us more about your special throwback paint scheme that you are driving at Darlington?
“I’m thrilled to be honoring Darrell Waltrip this year for my throwback paint scheme, paying respect to his legendary career. I helped design two paint schemes that were voted on by JGR employees, and they chose the one that replicates the Western Auto scheme that ‘DW’ drove for his final win at Darlington in 1992.”
Your team is really connecting on all cylinders at the moment. How important is that as you head into the playoffs in just three short weeks?
“This FedEx team is on such a roll right now. We show up fast to the racetrack each and every weekend, and I’m proud of what our entire team has been able to accomplish these past few weeks. We are happy with what we have been doing, but know there is a lot of work ahead of us, especially with the playoffs just around the corner.”