#11 FedEx Office Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing
Race: Hollywood Casino 400
Date/Time: October 20/2:30PM ET
Distance: 267 laps/400 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Track Shape: Tri-Oval
Banking: Turns: 17-20°; Straights 5-11°
2018 Winner: Chase Elliott
Talladega Recap: Denny Hamlin made a textbook recovery from a lap down to finish third in Monday’s rain-postponed Talladega Superspeedway race, won by Ryan Blaney. After starting last on Sunday due to a blown engine during his qualifying attempt, Hamlin worked his way up to fourth in the running order before getting caught in the middle lane, slipping back to 14th as the skies opened up after 55 laps of racing. Persistent rain forced the officials to postpone the remainder of the race until Monday. When the race resumed, Hamlin was running in the lead pack of cars when he radioed the crew that the right-side hood flap was loose. The flap eventually flew off the car as the team made preparations to fix the problem. Hamlin lost the draft in the process and the #11 went a lap down. Two laps later, a multi-car accident collected Hamlin and the FedEx car sustained sheet metal damage to the left front fender. The FedEx team made numerous pit stops to fix the damaged fender and replace the hood flap. Trapped a lap down to the leaders, Hamlin made some aggressive moves to put himself in the “Lucky Dog” position in an effort to get his lap back. The strategy worked, as a timely caution waved while Hamlin was in that position, allowing him to get back on the lead lap. He and crew chief Chris Gabehart decided to ride around in the back of the pack in an effort to stay out of any further trouble and aim for a top-10 finish. The strategy would pay dividends as Hamlin was able to dodge three multi-car wrecks that progressively reduced the number of cars left to race. Hamlin lined up seventh for the final restart with two laps to go. As the drivers jockeyed for position, Hamlin tried to draft his way to the front, but ran out of racing room and crossed the line under the checkers in a photo finish, beating Aric Almirola by inches for third place.
Kansas Speedway Preview: The series heads to Kansas Speedway this Sunday for the next cut-off race in the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs that will narrow down the field of contenders from 12 to eight. Hamlin currently sits first in the Playoff point standings and is 56 points above the cut-off line to advance to the Round of 8
Track: Kansas Speedway
Laps Led: 74
Avg. Start: 12.1
Avg. Finish: 15.7
Hamlin Conversation – Kansas:
How are you feeling heading into Kansas knowing you’re virtually locked in to the Round of 8?
“The third-place finish at Talladega definitely let us exhale a bit. We weren’t in a great position earlier in the race, but we executed a good strategy to put us in position for a good finish. Now, we just have to race smart in Kansas and make sure nothing crazy takes us out.”
Kansas has undergone some changes in recent years. How do you approach it?
“Kansas is a fast racetrack. It almost races like a superspeedway. It’s going to be about getting good restarts and having a car that handles well.”
FedEx Office Southwest Sales Along for the Ride at Kansas Speedway: The FedEx Office Southwest Sales team will be recognized during Sunday’s race as the leading Sales team for FY20 Q1 results. The team will be represented with the numbers “7389” on the B-post of the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota.