DENNY HAMLIN — #11 FEDEX FREIGHTTOYOTA CAMRY
RACE INFO: Event: Crown Royal 400 Date/Time: April 30/7:30 p.m. ET
2010 winner: Kyle Busch 2010
polesitter: Kyle Busch
Distance: 400 laps/300 miles
Track Length: three-quarter-mile Banking: 14 degrees
Track Shape: Oval
EXPRESS NOTES: Talladega Recap: Denny Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team recorded a 23rd-place finish in the most recent Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (April 17). Hamlin qualified 29th in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry and spent the majority of the 188-lap event biding his time until the end. Working the tandem draft with Ryan Newman, Hamlin’s strategy was to avoid trouble early in the race to make a late push for the win. A late tire issue for Newman caused Hamlin to search for a new partner, finding one in Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Joey Logano. The duo ran among the top-10 until three laps to go, when a spin in front of them caused the two cars to separate and Hamlin to lose the lead draft. Without a caution or draft, Hamlin was forced to ride out the final laps and accept a disappointing 23rd-place result. The finish, however, moved Hamlin up three spots in the Sprint Cup Series point standings to 17th after eight of 36 races, 100 points behind leader Carl Edwards.
Home Sweet Home: Following an off-weekend, the Series shifts to Richmond International Raceway (RIR) for Saturday’s 400-lap, 300-mile race. Hamlin, from nearby Chesterfield, Va., considers RIR his home track and is the most recent race winner at the facility. Last September, Hamlin started 14th and led 251 laps en route to victory lane, edging JGR teammate Kyle Busch. Busch is the two-time defending spring race winner at Richmond, and coupled with Hamlin’s first Richmond race win in the fall 2009 event, the duo has won the last four events at the three-quarter-mile track. Hamlin is making his 11th career Richmond start Saturday night, with top-10 finishes in half of his 10 trips to RIR. Despite only two wins, the 30-year-old has led more than 100 laps in a race four times at Richmond, including a career-high 381 (of 400) from the pole in the spring 2008 event before a cut tire relegated the team to a heartbreaking 24th-place finish. Hamlin’s first Richmond pole came in his second start at the track in the fall of 2006. In total, Hamlin has an average finish of 8.0 at RIR, has completed all but four laps (4,006 of 4,010) and has led 1,150 of the total laps (29 percent) at the track since his rookie season in 2006. Short Track Showdown Set for Thursday: The fourth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will be run Thursday night at Richmond International Raceway. This is the first year the charity event — which helps raise money for the Denny Hamlin Foundation — will be held at RIR. The 75-lap race featuring Late Model cars has attracted a variety of NASCAR stars, including Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Logano, Michael Waltrip and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, among others, competing against local talent from Virginia short tracks. The event will be broadcast live on SPEED beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.
FedEx, Autism Speaks Team Up at Dover: FedEx and Autism Speaks have teamed up for the “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on May 15. This is the first NASCAR race that FedEx has sponsored, and working with the track, arranged for specially-priced pairs of tickets for $111, with proceeds going to Autism Speaks. FedEx will also donate an additional $100,000 to the organization if Denny Hamlin wins the race.
FedEx Office – Closest to Richmond International Raceway:1111 E. Main St., Richmond, VA 23219, (804) 783-9880
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.
Raleigh/Durham Along for the Ride in Richmond: The Raleigh/Durham FedEx service center has set the bar for performance, winning the Charlotte District’s “Service Center of the Month” four times, and will be recognized with its “RDU” letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota this weekend.
HAMLIN CONVERSATION – RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY: Do you always feel the excitement of racing at your home track? “It never goes away – it’s still the race I look forward to the most. For me, having my charity race as part of Richmond week makes it all that more special. Getting a couple wins here was really important to me and this team and we absolutely want to come back and do it again. We feel like this track is a place where we can run up front every time we come here and I know we all would be disappointed to come here and not perform at the level we expect to. This team could use a solid weekend, and I can’t think of a better track to come to for just that.”
What does it mean to host your charity event at Richmond this year? “Richmond was the first track I ever watched a race at when I was five years old, and all these years later to be able to move the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown there is a dream. The race has been really rewarding and it’s become a big part of what the Denny Hamlin Foundation does. I learned a lot from FedEx about the impact you can have in the community as I was starting out in the Cup Series, and have worked to make sure my foundation follows that model. To give back through this foundation has been really rewarding for me and it makes me proud to know that we can help raise money and that the money is going to a really good cause. We have a great driver lineup again this year, and will put on a great show for the fans.” 2
011 FEDEX RACING – TEAM ROSTER Crew Chief: Mike Ford– Morristown, Tenn. Front Tire Changer: Nick Krizmanich – Kenosha, Wis. 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.