Date/Time: April 22/12 p.m. CT
2011 winner: Brad Keselowski
2011 polesitter: Kurt Busch
Distance: 267 laps/400.5 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Banking: 14 degrees
Track Shape: Quad Oval
EXPRESS NOTES: Texas Recap: Denny Hamlin finished 12th in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway driving a specially-wrapped #11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota Camry. Hamlin overcame an early-race pit road miscue — when he slid through his pit box under green and had to back up — to run the final 234 laps caution-free near the top-10 in the event won by Greg Biffle. The two-time Texas winner started 13th and was running 10th when he made his first pit stop on Lap 45 in the 334-lap race. Maneuvering around another car that was pitted behind his stall, Hamlin slid through his pit box and had to back up a few feet to avoid a penalty. The lengthy stop dropped Hamlin outside the top-20 and near the tail-end of the lead lap. A caution 20 laps later allowed Hamlin to regain the lost time, and the subsequent changes on pit road helped the car’s handling enough for him to drive up through the field and back into the top-10. The blustery conditions at the track affected how the car reacted nearly every lap as Hamlin radioed feedback to crew chief Darian Grubb. The race’s second — and final — caution came on Lap 95, and once the race resumed, Hamlin had four green flag stops before the checkered flag. With the finish, Hamlin climbs one spot to sixth in the standings following Texas, 31 points behind leader Greg Biffle after seven of 26 regular season races.
Drivers Prepare for Short Track Showdown: Drivers competing in the fifth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown presented by FedEx turned laps Wednesday (April 18) at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) in preparation for next Thursday’s Late Model event at the three-quarter-mile oval. Hamlin — a Virginia native — is the defending race winner in the event’s first year at RIR in 2011 (the first three events were held at Southside Speedway), and will be joined by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, as well as fellow Sprint Cup Series colleagues Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Michael Waltrip and Aric Almirola, among others, for the 75-lap race on April 26. Proceeds for the Short Track Showdown will benefit the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which helps various charities in the Richmond-area and around the country, including resources and research towards a cure for cystic fibrosis. Tickets for the race — which starts at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET — can be purchased at RIR.com and it will be televised live on SPEED. Additionally, Virginia Governor Robert F McDonnell has declared April 26, 2012 as Denny Hamlin Foundation Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Kansas Preview: The FedEx Racing team heads to Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s 400-mile race at the 1.5-mile facility. Hamlin has eight starts at Kansas, including a third-place finish one year ago. He started 15th and led 34 laps (had led two laps at Kansas in his previous six starts at the track) and was able to stretch his fuel to the end behind winner Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hamlin finished 16th in the Chase race at Kansas last fall. The 31-year-old driver has one other top-five finish at the track, finishing fourth in the October 2009 event.
Race Series Date Start Finish Laps Led Hollywood Casino 400 Sprint Cup Oct. 9, 2011 7 16 272/272 STP 400 Sprint Cup June 5, 2011 15 3 267/267 34 Price Chopper 400 Sprint Cup Oct. 3, 2010 12 12 267/267 Price Chopper 400 Sprint Cup Oct. 4, 2009 22 4 267/267 1 Camping World RV 400 Sprint Cup Sept. 29, 2008 30 11 267/267 1 Lifelock 400 Nextel Cup Sept. 30, 2007 5 29 209/210 Banquet 400 Nextel Cup Oct. 1, 2006 25 18 266/267 Banquet 400 Nextel Cup Oct. 9, 2005 7 32 265/267__________ Averages/Total 15.4 15.8 99.8% 36
FedEx Office – Closest to Kansas Speedway: 13450 W. 87th St. Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66215, (913) 894-2010
Great Plains Along for the Ride at Kansas Speedway: The FedEx Ground Great Plains district will be recognized with its district code “GPLS” on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota this weekend at Kansas Speedway. The Great Plains district, a leader in the FedEx Ground Mid-America region, is based out of the St. Paul hub and encompasses Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and parts of Wisconsin and Iowa.
HAMLIN CONVERSATION – Kansas Speedway: Is Kansas a race track you enjoy? “Kansas was the place really where I got my first mile and a half victory in the Nationwide Series. It’s a pretty flat track. We’ve not always hit the perfect setup there in the Cup car before. It’s a track that I’m glad we are going to twice, especially knowing that it’s a Chase race again this year. That’s a place where we need to improve. We’re going to use this time around to hopefully build a setup in which we can be competitive when we go back for the Chase.”