Sport Clips in the News

Denny Hamlin Finishes 14th at Auto Club Speedway

FONTANA, Calif. (Mar. 26, 2017)

Sport Clips Racing LogoBox Score Info:

RACE:  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Auto Club 400

TRACK:  Auto Club Speedway

DRIVER:  Denny Hamlin

CAR:  No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry

START: 2nd                                         

FINISH: 14th

LAPS:  202/202

POINT STANDINGS: 12th

 

Post-Race Highlights:

·        For the fifth race of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, teams headed west to Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400. Denny Hamlin qualified the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry in the second position and ran the majority of the race in the top 10 before dropping to 14th in the closing laps.

·        With the race underway on Sunday afternoon for 200 laps, Hamlin started from second, but slipped to fourth in the opening laps before the first caution of the race waved on lap three. Crew chief Mike Wheeler called Hamlin to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. With teams opting for varying strategies, Hamlin restarted the race on lap seven from the 11th position. Struggling with the handling of his Camry after the restart, Hamlin fell to 13th before moving up to 10th on lap 33 when teams were forced to make green-flag pit stops. Hamlin pitted for the second time of the race for four tires and fuel. Once the field cycled through stops, Hamlin returned to the 10th position.

·        The race remained green until the end of stage one on lap 60. Hamlin again pitted for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments to help with the handling of the Sport Clips Toyota Camry. On lap 67, the race resumed with stage two with Hamlin in 12th-place.

·        Stage two of the Auto Club 400 stayed green until lap 120 when the segment officially ended. Teams were forced to make their second round of green-flag stops during the stage with the No. 11 team pitting on lap 92 for four tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 127 with Hamlin ninth after pitting for four tires, fuel and adjustments. With four fresh Goodyear tires, Hamlin moved up to sixth by lap 130.

·        With 50 scheduled laps remaining in the race, Hamlin was scored seventh and as teams set up for another green-flag stop, Hamlin relayed to the team the areas of the track where he was struggling. On lap 155, Wheeler called Hamlin to pit road for a green-flag stop for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Once the field cycled through stops, Hamlin was running just outside the top five in the sixth position.

·        Closing in on the final laps of the race, the caution waved on lap 179 for a single-car incident. Hamlin pitted for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. With a solid stop by the 11 team, Hamlin gained four positions on pit road to restart the race from second place on lap 184. Before the field completed lap 184, the caution waved again with Hamlin fourth. The race restarted on lap 189 and Hamlin was able to gain two positions before the caution waved on lap 191. With less than 10 scheduled laps remaining in the race, Hamlin opted to stay on track when most of the field pitted. Taking the green flag with five scheduled laps remaining, Hamlin held on to the lead, before losing the battle on lap 196 when the caution flag waved for the final time. The race restarted on lap 200 with NASCAR’s first attempt at a green-white-checker finish. In the final laps, Hamlin dropped multiple positions before contact with a competitor forced him in to the outside wall on the final lap. Hamlin crossed the finish line 14th.

·        Teams now head back across the country to Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 2, for the STP 500.