RACE INFO: Event: Kobalt Tools 400 Date/Time: March 6 at 3:00 p.m. ET 2010 winner: Jimmie Johnson 2010 polesitter: Kurt Busch Distance: 267-lap/400.5-mile Track Length: 1.5-miles Banking: 20 degrees Track Shape: D-Shaped oval  

EXPRESS NOTES:  Denny in the Desert:  Denny Hamlin and the #11 FedEx Racing team posted an 11th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend, leading twice for nine laps in the 312-mile event. The Toyota Camry was at its best early in the race, when Hamlin drove to the front at the drop of the green flag to take the lead from Kurt Busch on lap 32. Track position was vital and passing was at a premium, so a loose race car on restarts kept Hamlin from challenging for the lead in the second half of the race, spending the majority of the day in the back half of the top-10. The 11th-place result moved Hamlin up five spots in the Sprint Cup Series point standings, now 14th, 22 points behind leader — and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate — Kyle Busch, heading to Sunday’s race in Las Vegas.
American Muscle

Hamlin at Las Vegas:  The Cup Series stays out west for a 267-lap event on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Hamlin has three career top-10 results in five starts at Las Vegas, including a best finish of third in 2007. Hamlin endured a frustrating race at Lat Vegas in 2010, as an ill-handling race car prevented him from making a serious run at the race win before a 19th-place finish. The 2009 event was equally as frustrating, as a lap 3 incident caused front-end damage and later spin on lap 172 put the #11 Camry one lap down to the leaders. Hamlin finished 10th at Las Vegas as a rookie.  

Race                            Series          Date                    Start           Finish          Laps       Led  

Shelby American                 Sprint Cup      Feb. 28, 2010           27              19              267/267 Shelby 427                      Sprint Cup      March 1, 2009           34              22              284/285 UAW-Dodge 400                   Sprint Cup      March 2, 2008           25              9               267/267 UAW-DiamlerChrysler 400         Nextel Cup      March 11, 2007          17              3               267/267 UAW-DiamlerChrysler 400         Nextel Cup      March 12, 2006          16              10              270/270        

Averages/Totals                                                         23.8            12.6            99.9%  

FedEx Office – Closest to Las Vegas Motor Speedway:2288 S. Nellis Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89104, (702) 431-5076   2011 FedEx Racing Press Kit – Available for Download:  Please visit for the 2011 FedEx Racing press materials, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Mike Ford and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights, program statistics and 2011 crew roster.   P

lains District Along for the Ride in Las Vegas: The FedEx Ground Plains district (PLNS) will be on the b-post at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in recognition for their continued excellence in package care and quality. The Plains district encompasses all of Kansas and Missouri — including the Lenexa (Kan.) and Kansas City hubs — as well as satellite facilities in eastern Nebraska and much of Iowa.  

HAMLIN CONVERSATION – LAS VEGAS: What do you enjoy about racing at Las Vegas? “It’s a good race and good race track.  You see really close finishes at Vegas and that’s exciting for the fans and the drivers. It seems like we’ve never had a great car, or a great handling car, from the start at Vegas but we’ve been consistent enough to score some good finishes. 

That comes down to working all race long to make little improvements here and there, but also keeping in mind that the track will be different at the end. 

Having the car ready at the end is what wins you races. We have struggled the last couple years there, but I think we have a chance this year. We really improved our intermediate track program last year and won a few races at mile-and-a-halfs. I’m just looking to continue that into this season and get some good finishes in the upcoming weeks.  

How does Las Vegas Motor Speedway stack up against the rest of the 1.5-mile tracks? 

“Vegas is a fast track, much more like Charlotte since they made the changes to the track a few years ago. It’s unique in that the transitions are different than other intermediates but you get really close racing. The track changes over the course of the race so the driver can usually find a place where the car works.  It’s a fun track and I think the fans get a good show. Vegas is a great location for a race – there is always something to do.  The city is welcoming of the sport, we see that with the banquet, and the track is always working hard to bring in fans and improve the racing.”    2011

FEDEX RACING – TEAM ROSTER   Crew Chief:  Mike Ford– Morristown, Tenn.                      Front Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman – Monroe, La. Car Chief: Chris “Spider” Gillin – Smithtown, N.Y.              Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram – Statesville, N.C. Engineer: Mike Wheeler – Southholt, N.Y.                        Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks – Salisbury, N.C. Shocks: Drew Bible – Coldwater, Mich.                   Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry – Belmont, N.C. Tire Specialist: Patrick Mullen – Brick, N.J.                   Jackman: Nate Bolling – Swanton, Ohio Engine Tuner: Chris Woodward – Franklin, N.H.           Gas Man: Scott Wood – Liberty, S.C. Mechanic: Rick Bray – Placerville, Calif.                       Pit Crew Coordinator:  Paul Alepa – Vienna, Va. Mechanic: John Furino – Long Island, N.Y.                       JGR Athletic Director: Michael Lepp – Charlotte, N.C. Spotter: Curtis Markham – Fredericksburg, Va.                                   Hauler Driver: Jerry Hess – Lancaster, Pa.      Hauler Driver: Frank Hodel – Blythe, Calif.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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