DENNY HAMLIN — #11 FEDEX GROUND TOYOTA CAMRY
Event: Quaker State 400 Date/Time: July 9/7:30 p.m. ET 2010 winner: N/A 2010 polesitter: N/A Distance: 267 laps/400 miles Track Length: 1.5 miles Banking: 14 degrees Track Shape: Tri-Oval
EXPRESS NOTES: Daytona Recap: Denny Hamlin finished 13th in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, surviving a variety of wild crashes during two ‘green-white-checkered’ overtime restarts and spinning through the infield grass to the finish line in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry. Hamlin took the green flag for the final restart in fourth place behind draft partner Ryan Newman, and the pair was alongside the leaders on the backstretch of Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval. Another duo with a run made a move to Hamlin’s outside, causing the #11 to lose contact with Newman’s #39, and they slipped back in the running order. They hooked back up at the white flag on the cusp of the top-10 and were building momentum to move back to the front, but a multi-car incident in turns three and four coming to the checkered flag caused both drivers to scatter, Hamlin into the grass and to the finish line in 13th place. The tandem draft style used at the restrictor plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) was prevalent throughout Saturday’s 170-lap event, and Hamlin and Newman were content riding around deeper in the field to avoid any wrecks at the front for most of the first two-thirds of the race, switching positions to keep their engines cool. As the laps clicked, they moved towards the front, and Hamlin led once for four laps after starting 36th. Green flag pit stops cycled twice in the 50 laps, and Newman and Hamlin were running one-two when the caution flew with two laps to go in regulation. They started from those positions on the initial “green-white-checkered” attempt, but a multi-car wreck behind them caused another caution and the second attempt. The finish kept Hamlin 11th in the NASCAR standings following Daytona, just three points behind Newman for 10th. He is 91 points behind new leader Kevin Harvick.
Kentucky Preview: Kentucky Speedway will play host to its first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night. Hamlin has made two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts on the 1.5-mile track located in Sparta, with a best result of third in 2006. During that race, Hamlin started on the pole and led 23 laps. In his first race at Kentucky in 2005, Hamlin started fifth and finished 15th. Saturday night’s race marks the halfway point of the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season and the 18th of 26 ‘regular season’ season that will determine the Chase for the Sprint Cup participants. Currently, Hamlin sits in one of the two Chase ‘wild card’ spots, given to the two drivers with the most victories outside of the top-10 in points but inside the top-20. Hamlin has led laps in each of the last six races, starting at Charlotte on May 29.
Hamlin Races to Prepare with Area Children: To teach 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 Wednesday at the Portland Community Center in Louisville. 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 Louisville chapter.
Mississippi Valley Along for the Ride in Kentucky: The Mississippi Valley FedEx Ground district currently leads the company in quality package care, and will be recognized with its “MISV” code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota this weekend.
HAMLIN CONVERSATION – KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY: Are you looking forward to the first Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway? “I’m excited for the first Cup race at Kentucky. They always get great crowds and the fans are very passionate about NASCAR. I raced there a couple times in the Nationwide Series when I first got into the sport, and started on the pole in one of them. It’s going to be a fun race under the lights. It’s pretty cool that the track has already sold out the place for the first race.”
Do you like the FedEx team’s chances at victory on Saturday night? “I feel like we’re extremely good at adapting to places that we’ve never been to before, or places that are ‘one off’ race tracks, like Pocono, Martinsville — those tracks where nowhere else really relates to. I feel like we’re good at those race tracks. I think we’ll be good at Kentucky, simply because everyone is going to be starting from scratch and it’s going to be a new place. I feel like our chemistry is so good that we typically get our stuff good before we get to the race track.”
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.