DENNY HAMLIN — #11 FEDEX GROUND TOYOTA CAMRY
Event: Goody’s Fast Relief 500
Date/Time: April 3 at 1:00 p.m. ET
2010 winner: Denny Hamlin
2010 polesitter: Kevin Harvick (points)
Distance: 500 laps/263 miles
Track Length: 0.526-mile
Banking: 12 degrees
Track Shape: Oval
California Recap: Denny Hamlin’s promising start to the Auto Club 400 ended early on Sunday, as an engine failure in the #11 Toyota forced the FedEx Racing team to retire from the event after just 105 of 200 laps. Hamlin started second and needed just seven laps to pass polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya, and was out front for the next 15 circuits. Staying in the top-five for the first two cycles of green flag pit stops, Hamlin battled a tight race car but remained in contention. Differing pit strategies during the race’s first caution on Lap 76 shuffled the #11 back to 12th for the restart, and just three laps later, Hamlin radioed that something was amiss and fell to the tail end of the field. A series of checks on the track and on pit road during the next caution revealed the issue was in the engine, and the team pushed the car to the garage, where they determined it was terminal. As a result, Hamlin was scored in 39th for the race and dropped four spots to 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings following Auto Club Speedway.
Hamlin’s House: Despite the early-season misfortune for the #11 FedEx team, Hamlin keeps a positive outlook heading into Sunday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, and for good reason. The 30-year-old Chesterfield, Va., native has won four races at the 0.526-mile ‘paper clip,’ including the last three in a row. Hamlin has been dominant at Martinsville in his career, finishing in the top-five in eight of 11 starts at the track. Hamlin swept the two races at the track in 2010, starting on the pole and leading 40 laps en route to victory lane in the fall race. The spring race saw a determined Hamlin charge from ninth to first in four laps for the win, just two days before undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. Hamlin earned his first victory at Martinsville in the spring 2008 race, and won again in the fall of 2009. In total, Hamlin has led 949 laps at the track, and has only one finish worse than eighth (37th in 2006) in his career.
Race Series Date Start Finish Laps Led
Tums Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Oct. 24, 2010 1 1 500/500 40
Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 Sprint Cup March 29, 2010 19 1 508/508 172
Tums Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Oct. 25, 2009 17 1 501/501 206
Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 Sprint Cup March 29, 2009 8 2 500/500 296
Tums QuikPak 500 Sprint Cup Oct. 19, 2008 12 5 504/504
Goody’s Cool Orange 500 Sprint Cup March 30, 2008 2 1 500/500 82
Subway 500 Nextel Cup Oct. 21, 2007 30 6 506/506
Goody’s 500 Nextel Cup April 1, 2007 1 3 500/500 125
Subway 500 Nextel Cup Oct. 22, 2006 3 2 500/500 28
DirecTV 500 Nextel Cup April 3, 2006 41 37 307/500
Subway 500 Nextel Cup Oct. 23, 2005 5 8 500/500
Averages/Totals 12.6 6.1 96.5% 949
FedEx Office – Closest to Martinsville Speedway: 3731 Battleground Ave., Greensboro, NC 27410, (336) 282-5650
2011 FedEx Racing Press Kit – Available for Download: Please visit www.fedexracing.com/presskit 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.
Plains District Along for Another Ride in Martinsville: The FedEx Plains District continues to lead the way in package care and will be recognized for the second time this season with its “PLNS” letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota this weekend at Martinsville. The district encompasses all of Kansas and Missouri, eastern Nebraska, and much of Iowa.
HAMLIN CONVERSATION – MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY:
What has been your key to success at Martinsville?
“It’s really a combination of things. I have raced at Martinsville more than I have raced at any other track when you consider total laps. Growing up in Virginia I had the chance to race here in some other series and all that track time definitely gave me a comfort level at Martinsville. That carried over to trucks and Nationwide Series and now to the Cup Series. I feel really confident at this track and I know we bring great cars – those things together usually lead to success. It’s also a lot of pressure because this is a race we circle as one where we expect to be really competitive.”
How important is it for the FedEx team to have a solid run this weekend?
“It’s important, for sure. Our FedEx race team usually starts slow, and we kind of use Martinsville as a springboard for our season, but we’ve had good cars this season and haven’t been able to put the finishes together. For me, it’s been frustrating because Mike (Ford, crew chief) has worked hard to make sure we’re competitive each week, but we just haven’t had the luck. Luckily, we have some good tracks for us coming up, and hopefully we can put together a few good weeks and get that first win. Martinsville is a great place to start that.”