Date/Time: April 28/7:30 p.m. ET
2011 winner: Kyle Busch
2011 polesitter: Juan Pablo Montoya
Distance: 400 laps/300 miles
Track Length: 0.75-mile
Banking: 14 degrees
Track Shape: Oval
EXPRESS NOTES: Kansas Recap: Denny Hamlin passed Martin Truex Jr. with 31 laps remaining in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway and held him off en route to the checkered flag in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, winning his second race of the 2012 season. The decisive move came in Turn 3 on Lap 237 shortly after the final round of green flag pit stops at the 1.5-mile speedway, coinciding with the sun peaking through clouds to bring the #11 machine to life. Hamlin dove to the inside of Truex Jr. and cleared him off of Turn 4 to capture his 19th career Cup Series victory. Hamlin started fourth and never ran outside the top-10 during the 267-lap event, working with crew chief Darian Grubb to fine tune the #11 car to help a tight condition during the race’s first half. Tire strategy moved Hamlin up to second for the race’s final restart on Lap 193, where his patience paid off for the final run. Sunday’s victory was also the 199th for the #11, now the most in NASCAR history for a car number, moving it past the #43. Hamlin moved up one spot to fifth in the NASCAR standings following Kansas, now 23 points behind leader Greg Biffle after eight of 26 regular season races. Proceeds will benefit the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which provides support for a variety of local and national charities, including help to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Denny Delivers Back to the Community: The Denny Hamlin Foundation is hosting the fifth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown presented by FedEx on Thursday night at Richmond International Raceway (RIR), a Late Model race pitting local Virginia drivers against NASCAR stars. Hamlin, the defending race winner, will be joined by current Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, as well as other Cup Series veterans Aric Almirola Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip. Other NASCAR national series drivers in the race include Chase Elliott, Curtis Markham, Timothy Peters, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Jason White. The 75-lap event, split into 50 and 25 lap segments, will immediately follow the NASCAR K&N East Series race, and will be televised live on SPEED. Tickets can be purchased on RIR.com or at the ticket office.
Richmond Preview: Fresh off his second win of the season, Hamlin heads to his home track for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond. The Chesterfield, Va., native has two victories in 12 Cup starts at the three-quarter-mile oval, including wins in consecutive fall RIR events in 2009 and 2010. Hamlin finished runner-up to teammate Kyle Busch one year ago at Richmond, leading 38 laps and notching his sixth top-five result at the track. Last fall, Hamlin started 28th and drove up the ninth at RIR, good enough to clinch his sixth-straight Chase for the Sprint Cup berth. The 31-year-old driver has two poles at the track, in 2006 and 2008, and has led at least one lap in 10 of 12 Richmond starts, totaling 1,188 laps in all. Hamlin has completed all but four laps at Richmond (4,806 of 4,810) in his career. He is also participating in Friday night’s Nationwide Series event to defend his win from one year ago.
Race Series Date Start Finish Laps Led Wonderful Pistachios 400 Sprint Cup Sept. 10, 2011 28 9 400/400 Crown Royal 400 Sprint Cup April 30, 2011 11 2 400/400 38 Air Guard 400 Sprint Cup Sept. 11, 2010 14 1 400/400 251 Crown Royal 400 Sprint Cup May 1, 2010 30 11 400/400 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Sprint Cup Sept. 12, 2009 3 1 400/400 299 Crown Royal 400 Sprint Cup May 2, 2009 3 14 400/400 148 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Sprint Cup Sept. 10, 2008 11 3 400/400 4 Crown Royal 400 Sprint Cup May 3, 2008 1 24 407/410 381 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Nextel Cup Sept. 8, 2007 5 6 400/400 17 Crown Royal 400 Nextel Cup May 6, 2007 6 3 400/400 12 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Nextel Cup Sept. 9, 2006 1 15 399/400 19 Crown Royal 400 Nextel Cup May 6, 2006 7 2 400/400 19 Averages/Totals 10.0 7.6 99.9% 1,188
FedEx Office – Closest to Richmond International Raceway: 1111 E. Main St., Richmond, VA 23219, (804) 783-9880
FedEx Freight Manassas, Va. Service Center Along for the Ride at Richmond International Raceway: The FedEx Freight Manassas, Va., service center will be recognized with its code, “MAN,” on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota this weekend at Richmond International Raceway.
HAMLIN CONVERSATION – Richmond International Raceway: How much have you seen the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown grow over the past five years? “It has really been incredible, the amount of support we have received from people in the racing community to make this race what has become in just five years. I can’t thank the drivers enough that are willing to come in early to participate in this. Jeff (Burton), Tony (Stewart), Kyle (Busch), Joey (Logano) and those guys have to come in early and race on a day off, and that’s cool. We had the opportunity to move the event to Richmond last year and open it up to even more race fans, and we are fortunate to have it broadcast on SPEED again. We have raised and donated a bunch of resources through the Denny Hamlin Foundation throughout the years, and this race helps bring attention to some great causes. I’m expecting another great show Thursday night.”
What are your thoughts on heading to your home track coming off a victory? “It’s the first time in my career that I have gone to Richmond to race the weekend after winning a Cup race, so it’s a great feeling. I get to go home and see friends and family, compete in the Showdown and Nationwide race, and hopefully be a contender on Saturday night. We have had some success as a team at Richmond, and have led a bunch of laps there. Coming off our win last weekend in Kansas, our FedEx team is very confident heading into Richmond, and hopefully we can make it two in a row.”
2012 FEDEX RACING TEAM – SEASON RESULTS DATE EVENT LOCATION START FINISH LAPS STATUS WINNINGS LED PTS TREND Feb. 27 Daytona 500 Daytona 31 4 202/202 Running $702,091 57 4th ▬ March 4 Subway Fresh Fit 500 Phoenix 13 1 312/312 Running $238,016 61 1st ▲ March 11 Kobalt Tools 400 Las Vegas 17 20 267/267 Running $140,321 3rd ▼ March 18 Food City 500 Bristol 20 20 498/500 Running $132,901 5th ▼ March 25 Auto Club 500 California 1 11 129/129 Running $149,771 2 7th ▼ April 1 Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Martinsville 3 6 515/515 Running $128,101 31 7th ▬ April 14 Samsung Mobile 500 Texas 13 12 334/334 Running $166,221 6th ▲ April 22 STP 400 Kansas 4 1 267/267 Running $248,691 32 5th ▲ Averages/Totals 12.8 9.4 99.9% $1,906,113 183