Event: Kobalt Tools 500
Date/Time: Nov. 14, 2010/3 p.m. EST
2009 winner: Jimmie Johnson
2009 polesitter: Martin Truex, Jr.
Distance: 312 laps/312 miles
Track Length: 1.0 miles
Banking: 11 & 9 degrees
Track Shape: Tri Oval
Hamlin, FedEx Racing Sweep through Texas on Way to Chase Lead: With a NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship very much on the line heading to Texas Motor Speedway, Denny Hamlin and the #11 FedEx Racing team knew exactly what they had to do. By the time the checkered flag waved at Texas on Sunday evening, they successfully crossed flawless execution, winning at Texas for the second time this season, and heading to Phoenix as the points leader off their list. Hamlin started from the 30th spot on the grid for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 and the #11 FedEx Racing team steadily improved the car through a combination of great communication and smart, quick stops. With the laps counting down, Hamlin rocketed to the front and then held off Matt Kenseth to claim his eighth win of the season to date, his second consecutive win at Texas and a 33-point lead over rival Jimmie Johnson heading to Phoenix this weekend.
FedEx Delivery Vehicles Take to the Streets in Support of the FedEx Racing Team: To celebrate the on-track success of the FedEx Racing team, a total of 600 FedEx delivery vehicles in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Phoenix and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale markets will carry a special decal showing the company’s support for the #11 team’s Chase for the Sprint Cup campaign.
Hamlin at Phoenix International Raceway: This weekend will mark Hamlin’s eleventh start at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and his 186th career start at the Cup level. This spring, only ten days after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee, Hamlin climbed back into the #11 FedEx Toyota at Phoenix determined to put pain to the side in the interest of the team. Despite suffering through the discomfort of the 376 laps around a physical 1.0-mile track, and the agony of losing laps to the leader due to electrical issues, Hamlin never left the seat that he’s occupied full-time since 2006, battling throughout the race to post a 30th place finish in the Subway Fresh Fit 600. A year ago, the #11 FedEx Racing team ran strong on their way to posting a fourth third-place finish at the 1.0-mile track. After a final pit stop on lap 242, Hamlin found himself less that a second behind eventual winner Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin methodically carved into the lead, closing to within .29 seconds with less than 30 laps to run but that was as close as he would get. When Jeff Burton reached his bumper and passed him on lap 284, there was no recourse for Hamlin but to run out the race in third. In the spring of 2009 the #11 team rolled the dice on Saturday night at PIR, using pit road strategy to score an impressive sixth-place finish in the Subway Fresh Fit 500. With ten laps to go and the race under caution, Crew Chief Mike Ford called for two tires only and Hamlin lined up the #11 in fourth place for the restart before finishing sixth. In the fall of 2008, Hamlin continued a string of good runs at PIR by posting a fifth-place finish. In the spring race of 2008, Hamlin and the #11 team looked to have nailed their fuel strategy and ran in third place after their last stop on lap 296 only to watch the cars running in first and second stretch their fuel loads to the end. In the fall 2007 event, Hamlin suffered through an agonizing race that included two pit-road speeding penalties on his way to a 16th-place finish. Earlier that season, Hamlin led 70 laps and was well on his way to challenging for a win before a pit road speeding penalty sent him to the tail end of the field. Despite working his way back, he had to settle for a frustrating third-place finish. Hamlin made his debut at PIR in the fall of 2005 in only his sixth career Cup start and secured his first career pole before finishing 13th on the night.
Race Series Date Start Finish Laps (Led)
Subway Fresh Fit 600 Sprint Cup April 10, 2010 26 30 376/378
Checker Auto Parts 500 Sprint Cup Nov. 15, 2009 5 3 312/312 23
Subway Fresh Fit 500 Sprint Cup April 18, 2009 12 6 312/312
Checkers O’Reilly 500 Sprint Cup Nov. 9, 2008 8 5 313/313
Subway FreshFit 500 Sprint Cup April 12, 2008 16 3 312/312
Checker Auto Parts 500 Nextel Cup Nov. 11, 2007 15 16 312/312
Subway FreshFit 500 Nextel Cup April 21, 2007 3 3 312/312 70
Checker Auto Parts 500 Nextel Cup Nov. 12, 2006 22 3 312/312
Subway Fresh 500 Nextel Cup April 22, 2006 6 34 289/312
Checker Auto Parts 500 Nextel Cup Nov. 13, 2005 1 13 312/312
Averages/Totals 11.4 11.6 99.2% 93
FedEx Ground Plains Along for the Ride in Phoenix: The #11 FedEx Ground Toyota will carry the letters PLNS on the b-post this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway in recognition of the FedEx Ground Plains district’s excellence in package care. The district’s leadership in this area has been the result of a strong quality focus and the development of innovative processes that have been adopted company-wide. The Plains district encompasses all of Kansas and Missouri, including the Lenexa and Kansas City hubs, as well as satellite facilities in eastern Nebraska and Iowa.
Phoenix Chassis – JGR 276 and 288: The FedEx team will unload Chassis JGR 276 this weekend in Phoenix. 276 last ran at Richmond in September when Hamlin led 251 laps on his way his sixth win of the season. Chassis 288 will serve in backup duty.
HAMLIN CONVERSATION – Phoenix:
Leaving Texas with a win and the points lead is all you could have hoped for – what is the strategy going forward?:”At this point we are going to keep racing as hard as if we were down. That’s been our plan all along and having a lead coming to Phoenix doesn’t change that at all. Texas was a good race for us, really what we needed to do in terms of the points, but there is a lot of racing left to do and this is no time to change strategy.”
You had pointed to the final five races as the time when the #11 team would really step up – what is it about these tracks that suit you?: “Really just tracks where we’ve been good in the past and had a lot of confidence that we’d be bringing even better cars back to those tracks this fall. We had a lot of people asking why we would bring a new car to Texas last weekend instead of just bringing back the car that won there in the spring. I think we showed that we’ve been consistently improving our cars and that was definitely the case at Texas. We feel that way about Phoenix and Homestead too and I feel confident as a driver at those tracks as well.”
Is your team doing anything special through the Chase to keep focus?: “I think we’re all just doing our jobs and really not thinking about the points or the standings. There is a lot of work to be done and everyone is really focused on doing their job to the best of their ability. Even though we haven’t won a championship, we’ve been in the Chase before and we’ve won races before. We’ll keep approaching these races as we have all season long.”
2010 FEDEX RACING – TEAM ROSTER
Crew Chief: Mike Ford – Morristown, Tenn.
Car Chief: Chris “Spider” Gillin – Smithtown, NY
Shocks: Tim Sparkman – St. Louis, Mo.
Engineer: Mike Wheeler – Southholt, NY
Tire Specialist: Patrick Mullen – Brick, N.J.
Windshield: Bobby “Spike” Christenson – Spokane, Wash.
Mechanic: Rick Bray – Placerville, Calif.
Hauler Driver: Jerry Hess – Lancaster, Pa.
Mechanic: John Furino – Long Island, NY
Hauler Driver: Frank Hodel – Blythe, Calif.
Spotter: Curtis Markham – Fredericksburg, Va.
Front Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman – Monroe, La.
Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks – Salisbury, N.C.
Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry – Belmont, N.C.
Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram – Statesville, N.C.
Jackman: Nate Bolling – Swanton, Ohio
Motor Specialist: Chris Woodward – Franklin, NH
Gas can: Scott Wood – Liberty, S.C.
Catch Can: John Eicher – London, Ky..
JGR Athletic Director: Michael Lepp – Charlotte, N.C.
FEDEX RACING – 2010 SEASON RESULTS:
Race Track Date Start Finish Laps (Led)_
Daytona 500 Daytona Feb. 14 25 17 208/208 1
Auto Club 500 Auto Club Feb. 21 25 29 248/250 6
Shelby American Las Vegas Feb. 28 27 19 267/267
Kobalt Tools 500 Atlanta March 7 20 21 314/314 32
Food City 500 Bristol March 21 15 19 500/500
Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Martinsville March 28 19 1 504/504 172
Subway FreshFit 500 Phoenix April 10 26 30 376/378
Samsung Mobile 500 Texas April 19 29 1 334/334 12
Aaron’s 499 Talladega April 25 11 4 190/190 17
Crown Royal 400 Richmond May 1 30 11 400/400
Southern 500 Darlington May 8 8 1 367/367 104
Autism Speaks 400 Dover May 16 14 4 400/400
Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte May 30 7 18 400/400 3
Gillette FusionPro 500 Pocono June 6 5 1 502/502 88
Helluva Good! 400 Michigan June 13 7 1 200/200 123
Toyota/Savemart 350 Sonoma June 20 12 35 102/110
Lenox Tools 301 New Hamp. June 27 20 14 301/301
Coke Zero 400 Daytona July 3 4 24 158/166 4
Lifelock.com 400 Chicago July 10 17 8 267/267
Brickyard 400 Indianapolis July 25 18 15 160/160
Sunoco Red Cross 400 Pocono Aug. 1 3 5 200/200 19
Heluva Good! At the Glen Watkins Glen Aug. 8 14 37 70/90
CarFax 400 Michigan Aug.15 33 2 200/200 12
Irwin Tools 500 Bristol Aug. 21 17 34 473/500
Emory Heathcare 500 Atlanta Sept. 5 1 43 143/325 74
Air Guard 400 Richmond Sept.11 14 1 400/400 251
Sylvania 300 New Hamp. Sept. 19 22 2 300/300
AAA 400 Dover Sept. 26 4 9 400/400
Price Chopper 400 Kansas Oct. 4 12 12 267/267
Pepsi 400 Auto Club Oct. 10 34 8 200/200
Bank of America 500 Charlotte Oct. 16 32 4 334/334 1
TUMS Quick Relief 500 Martinsville Oct. 24 1 1 500/500 40
AMP Energy 500 Talladega Oct. 31 17 9 188/188 4
AAA Texas 500 Texas Nov. 7 30 1 334/334 31
Averages/Totals 16.6 12.9 97.6% 994