DENNY HAMLIN — #11 FEDEX FREIGHTTOYOTA CAMRY
RACE INFO: Event: Toyota/Save Mart 350 Date/Time: June 26/12 p.m. PT 2010 winner: Jimmie Johnson 2010 polesitter: Kasey Kahne Distance: 200 laps/400 miles Track Length: 1.99 miles Turns: 12 Track Shape: Road Course
EXPRESS NOTES: Michigan Recap: The FedEx Racing team was relentless in tuning the #11 Toyota, took advantage of excellent fuel mileage and timely cautions, and used a brilliant late-race drive from Denny Hamlin to score its first victory of the 2011 NASCAR season Sunday at Michigan. Quick work on pit road for two tires during the final caution with eight laps remaining gave Hamlin the lead for the final restart, and he held off a hard-charging Matt Kenseth over the final five laps en route to victory lane. Hamlin started 10th in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota for the 200-lap event on the two-mile track, but couldn’t find the proper balance in the car for much of the race. Lacking grip throughout, Hamlin searched around the wide racing surface to find speed, not knowing he would benefit the most from his Toyota’s superior fuel mileage. Running in the back half of the top-10 as the laps dwindled, the 30-year-old driver moved up spots while cars in front of him were forced to pit road for fuel with less than 50 laps to go. Hamlin got up to fourth before a caution on Lap 160, when everyone came back in for fresh tires. The FedEx crew held serve, and Hamlin climbed two spots to second on the restart. Trailing Carl Edwards and conserving fuel to make it to the end, an incident on Lap 191 bunched the field again, and the FedEx crew got Hamlin out first, the deciding move of the race. The victory is Hamlin’s first of 2011, second at Michigan and 17th of his Sprint Cup Series career. He climbed three spots to ninth in the NASCAR standings, now trailing leader Edwards by 77 points after 15 of 26 regular season races.
Infineon Preview: As the Series shifts to its first of two road course events on the 2011 schedule, Hamlin will be making his sixth career Cup start at Infineon Raceway on Sunday. In five previous starts at the 1.99-mile, 12-turn road course in northern California, Hamlin has recorded two top-10 finishes — including a career-best fifth-place result in 2009, when he led 33 laps. Hamlin was caught up in a pair of incidents at the track one year ago, spending extensive time in the garage for repairs and coming back for a hard-fought 35th-place run.
Race Series Date Start Finish Laps Led Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup June 20, 2010 12 34 103/110 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup June 21, 2009 24 5 113/113 33 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup June 22, 2008 13 27 112/112 Dodge/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup June 24, 2007 36 10 110/110 3 Dodge/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup June 24, 2006 40 12 110/110 Averages/Totals 25.0 17.6 98.7% 36
Hamlin Races to Prepare with Area Children: To teach San Francisco-area children that it’s never too early to learn how to prepare for emergencies, Hamlin, FedEx and the American Red Cross are teaming up to host a preparedness event Thursday at the Boys & Girls Club in East Palo Alto, Calif. Hamlin will work with the children to prepare kits to bring home to use in the event of an emergency. As part of the company’s commitment to supporting disaster preparedness and relief efforts around the world, FedEx is also donating $10,000 to the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter.
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.
Sacramento Service Center Along for the Ride in Sonoma: The FedEx Freight Service Center in Sacramento, Calif., has been strong in the company’s ‘People Service Profit’ initiatives, and will be recognized with its “SAC” code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota this weekend.
HAMLIN CONVERSATION – INFINEON RACEWAY: Was the Michigan victory important for the team’s confidence? “Yeah, it really was. Obviously in this position, it puts us in the top-10, and hopefully works towards our goal of being in the top-five by the time we get to Richmond. We just started so far back in points, it’s going to take a long time to get to that point. I feel like over the last six to seven weeks, we’ve been as good as anyone. It feels good to get a win after sneaking up on everyone. When we go to these race tracks that we won at before, everyone expects us to win. We expect ourselves to win. We just had little bugs that kept us from doing that.”
As we get into the second half of the regular season, how important is the new points system to pay attention to? “It’s so hard to tell because usually when you knew you were 160 [points] back, you need to have three solid weeks over someone who runs 12th to 15th every week. This time, I’m still a little confused on how much you need to gain each week. But I really try not to look at the points at this point because there’s just there’s nothing I can do. All I can do is try to get the best finish I can every week. It doesn’t matter what the system is. I still don’t have the grips of how much ground can be gained on any certain week on someone. I don’t know what a safe spot is ‘in.’ I don’t know what a dangerous place is ‘out.’ It’s just so hard to figure that out right now for us, but I know we were – seven, eight weeks ago, we were 120 something, 130 (points) out of the lead, maybe somewhere in that range — and we’re 70 or 80 (points behind first) or something like that now. So we’ve gained ground on the leader over these last five to six weeks.”
2011 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.