When FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office were run
FedEx Express - orange (9):
Sprint Unlimited - 2/15
Daytona 500 - 2/23
Auto Club - 3/23
Talladega - 5/4
Charlotte - 5/17, All-Star race
Michigan - 6/15
Indianapolis - 7/27
Richmond - 9/6
Homestead - 11/16
FedEx Freight - red (9):
Bristol - 3/16
FedEx Office - blue (8):
Phoenix - 3/2
Texas - 4/6, March of Dimes
Charlotte - 5/25
Kentucky - 6/28
Pocono - 8/3
Chicago - 9/14
Kansas - 10/5
Texas - 11/2
FedEx Ground - green (9):
Las Vegas - 3/9
Richmond - 4/26
Pocono - 6/8
Daytona - 7/5
Watkins Glen - 8/10
Bristol - 8/23
New Hampshire - 9/21
Charlotte - 10/11
Phoenix - 11/9
FedEx Freight One Rate:
Talladega - 10/19
Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2014 at:
Darlington - 4/12
Atlanta - 8/31
Breakdown of wins by driver in the #11:
Cale Yarborough (55)(won 3 championships in car #11)
Ned Jarrett (49)(won 2 championships in car #11)
Darrell Waltrip (43)(won 3 championships in car #11)
Denny Hamlin (24)
Junior Johnson (11)
Bill Elliott (6)
Geoff Bodine (4)
Terry Labonte (4)
Bobby Allison (3)
Buddy Baker (2)
A.J. Foyt (1)
Mario Andretti (1)(won 1967 Daytona 500)
Parnelli Jones (1)(1st driver to win in #11)
TOTAL WINS = 204 (5-4-2014)
Contract Status: Driver: 2014+; Primary Sponsors: 2014?; Manufacturer: 2014+
Hamlin Hopes To Repeat At Homestead: After going winless the first 35 races last year, Denny Hamlin captured the checkered flag in the season finale at Homestead to salvage his streak of notching at least one victory in each of his first eight full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaigns. The stakes are higher for the #11 FedEx driver in Sunday's Championship race at Homestead. If Hamlin wins at the 1.5-mile track, or just finishes ahead of Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman, he will capture his first series championship. Hamlin expressed his confidence in a title race at Homestead on Eliminator 8 Media Day, saying: "Truth be told, if you ask me 'you have one race to race heads up for a championship, pick either Martinsville or Homestead?' I'd almost pick Homestead simply because we've just had a lot of success there over these last few years and it's been a great track for us." Hamlin has won at the Miami-area track twice and also claims four top-five and ten top-10 finishes there. In 2010, Hamlin found himself in a similar situation in the biggest race of his life prior to Sunday - the Ford 400 season finale at Homestead. The Chesterfield, Virginia native entered the race 15 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson for the standings lead. With the championship in his sights, Hamlin failed to stave off Johnson. He qualified 37th and spun on the 25th lap, events that culminated in a 14th-place finish. Johnson took second to win his fifth straight title.
With a new shot at redemption, Hamlin can accomplish two major milestones by winning the championship: Unable to compete at Auto Club in March due to an injury caused by a piece of metal lodged into the back of his eye, Hamlin can become the first NSCS champion to miss a race since NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty in 1971. Petty missed two races that year: A Daytona qualifying races - which was a points race at that time - and a race in Macon, Georgia's Middle Georgia Raceway. Hamlin, 33, can pilot the first Toyota to a NSCS title.(NASCAR)(11-13-2014)
Grubb going for 2nd championship, could be with different JGR team next season: Darian Grubb, current crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin, will remain as a crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing, he just doesn't know which driver he will head up in 2015. In part from a NASCAR Teleconference with Grubb:
Q. Darian, three years ago you knew for several races that you weren't coming back as the crew chief for Tony Stewart but you held the team together and you won the championship. This year the crew chief lineup for Joe Gibbs Racing hasn't been announced for next year, so I guess a two-part question. One, do you know what you're doing next year yet, and two, does this remind you at all of 2011 and has that experience helped you as you go for the title again?
DARIAN GRUBB: It doesn't remind me of that situation at all. We're still working towards winning a championship, and I'm going to be here next year doing the same thing. We have had some talks internally about what next year's plans are, but there's nothing that's ready to be announced and/or we're not working towards that for next year, either. I'm sure winning a championship with the team and stuff might have some bearing on some of those discussions and things, as well. We're going to wait until Monday after Homestead to even think about that stuff.
Q. Are you saying that the difference between like this year and maybe what hasn't been announced in 2011 to what has been announced, is that you and your crew guys, you know you're going to have jobs, you know that you're not wondering where you'll be come next January or February?
DARIAN GRUBB: Exactly. I'm not updating any résumés or anything like that. We know we all have jobs. There's security. We all know for a fact that we're going to be working together within this organization, so we're going to go out and try to finish the business at hand first no matter what happens and try to win that trophy at Homestead.
Q. Would you find it ironic at all if you were to win a title, win two championships and then be with somebody else the following year?
DARIAN GRUBB: To me that doesn't matter. I'm still going to do the same effort and the same work that I do every week regardless of who I'm working for. If it's Denny again next year, we're going to try to win two in a row, and if it's for somebody else, then we're going to try to win together that way, also. It doesn't matter to me. I love this sport and I love my job, and I love all the guys that I work with. FedEx Toyota team is my home for now, and that's what I plan to be working hard on.(NASCAR Teleconference)(11-12-2014)
"Bonsai" predicts Hamlin as the champ: The season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 race may be taking place this Sunday, but South Florida got a taste of Vegas when Zoo Miami's "Bonsai," a binturong, became the official Zoo Miami "Wildlife Prognosticator," picking the winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Choosing from the four cars of #4-Kevin Harvick, #11-Denny Hamlin, #22-Joey Logano and #31-Ryan Newman, Bonsai had a tough decision to make as to who he thought would take home the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. After thorough consideration, Bonsai picked the #11 car of Denny Hamlin to take home the Championship. Bonsai is a unique animal found in the tall forests of Asia that can reach a weight of close to 50 pounds. They are primarily arboreal and are excellent climbers feeding on a variety of small mammals, birds, insects and fruits. Commonly called a "bear cat," they have thick black fur and a long prehensile tail with sharp claws. They are active both day and night and give off a scent that smells very much like popcorn. Their biggest threat in the wild is habitat destruction due to deforestation.(South Dade News Leader)(11-12-2014)
Hamlin talks about Texas fight and Keselowski: from the NASCAR Teleconference With #11-Denny Hamlin, the transcript, in part:
Q). Did you have any strong feelings, thoughts about what penalty should be for the fight last week and what are they?
DENNY HAMLIN: Not really. I don't really have any strong feelings about it one way or another. When things are as tense as they are and your whole season comes down to kind of one cut tire by somebody else, you're of course going to be upset. So who knows what should happen. But definitely it will probably be monetary, if anything.
Q). Obviously a lot of debate about the move that Brad Keselowski made when he collided with Jeff Gordon near the end of the Texas race, whether there was a hole there or not. I was wondering if you had a chance to look at the replay and what you thought of the move, is it a move you would have made? Do you think there was enough room to justify it and do the circumstances itself maybe sort of justify it?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, I think going in, you know, I don't know what Brad thought. But I thought from my perspective, if I was in that car and shoes, that I would have to know that I'm not going to make it through that hole without having contact of some sort. That's fine. But if it costs somebody a bad day, you're going to have to expect retaliation, which I'm sure he did. So you'll have to take it with a grain of salt.
Q). Would you have made that move?
DENNY HAMLIN: I don't know. I think about that a lot and whether I would or would not. He was on fresher tires. So saying that that was his only opportunity to get the win may not necessarily be a true statement. He still had two laps to get around. And if you push the 48 there past the 24, it was a battle between him and the 48. I don't know. You know, it's tough for me to say. And his points position, his actual position, I didn't have the tires he had. So everyone has a different way of doing things. But I think a common feel amongst drivers is that what they call that, people are calling that a hole that that was a very small hole. And the car is call it six and a half, seven foot wide, that hole was six foot. It was not enough that a car was going to fit without being in contact. Somebody was going to have to pay the price. It was Jeff Gordon. And it made him have a bad day.
Q). Of course back to the fight. When you look at the aftermath of what happened, once you got home, what did you see there? What are all the variables involved that made that such an intense moment?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, I think it was the moment where Brad kind of blew Jeff off was when it set things off and that kind of goes back to what I just talked about, with Nate. That the times that I've had tussles with Brad and other drivers, it's just oh, well, that's how a race is, just deal with it. As drivers, you're just looking at someone to say I'm sorry I ruined your day, I screwed up, oh, well, I apologize. When that doesn't get said, then immediately it just lights a fire in your stomach that all he cares -- he doesn't have any remorse. It's just like oh, well, it's your problem. And I think that just lights a fire in your insides, especially when you just had a bad day and your season could have just rested on that one mistake or whatever you want to call it. I think that that really set things off. I think if Brad would have talked to Jeff and said, man, I was going for a hole. It was my only chance, you know, I'm really sorry it cut your tire, I think it goes totally different. Instead, it was oh, well, sorry, bud, you left a hole. If he did it to me I would have had the same reaction as Jeff. No question. I think that's what escalated it the most.
Q). Is it a stretch to say that Brad is the most disliked driver in the garage?
DENNY HAMLIN: I don't know. I can't speak for many other guys. But I mean it's just -- there's a lot of animosity. And that's all that you can really say. And so I don't know. It's just something that's happened and a lot of built-up frustration over the years.(NASCAR Teleconference)(11-5-2014)
2015 team sponsorships coming together: Some top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have sold their primary sponsorships for all of next season, but space remains on the cars of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and #15-Clint Bowyer four months before the 2015 season begins. Among the teams that have sold all their primary sponsorship for next year are #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Joey Logano, #4-Kevin Harvick, #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. "It's certainly not easy finding a sponsor, but there was an abundant amount of interest in our sport and in our team," said Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, which expands to four cars next season. Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the three-car organization has fewer primary sponsorship openings then it did at this time a year ago. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, says that his three-car organization also is ahead in selling sponsorships, noting some companies were willing to start negotiations earlier. "I think the climate is getting better," Newmark said. "It's not where we need to be, but I think the whole sport is doing a better job of marketing." Newmark credits more collaboration with NASCAR compared to when he arrived at Roush four years ago. Newmark also said that the team has made many changes to better serve sponsors. See more team-by team info at Motor Racing Network and check out the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team / Driver Chart.(10-16-2014)
Hamlin's jackman injured at Charlotte UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin's jackman Nate Bolling suffered an injury Saturday night that sidelined him for half the race. After stop 3, the #11 car had back up jackman Kenneth Purcell in the race and ended up finishing the race with him. We're not exactly sure what happened to Nate but talking to sources close to the team, it looks like it could be a torn bicep or tricep. Nate is an exceptional jackman and a tuff dude, so if he went out of the race after stop 3 then we can expect the injury is substantial. Filling in for Nate was veteran jackman and JGR back up, Kenneth Purcell. Kenneth has been jacking a long time and has 4 championships to his name with the #48 team.
AND The MRI came back and it showed a torn Tricep. Nate is obviously out for the rest of this year but should be back for the start of the 2015 season. We've heard he could have surgery as early as this week to repair the tear. Back up Kenneth Purcell will take over duties for the rest of the season.(Pit Talks)(10-15-2014)
UPDATE: Nate Bolling, the jackman on the #11 FedEx Sprint Cup Series race team had successful surgery on a torn right triceps this morning and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2015 Daytona 500.(JGR)(10-15-2014)
Tempers flare after race UPDATE: After the race, #2-Brad Keselowski and ninth-place finisher #11-Denny Hamlin traded insults on pit road, as NASCAR officials and their crews kept them apart in the wake of a late race incident between their two cars. Keselowski clipped Hamlin's rear bumper on the cool-down lap, then hit Kenseth's Toyota with his Ford on pit road after the race. After sustaining collateral damage on pit road during the melee, #14-Tony Stewart backed into Keselowski's Ford, crumpling the nose of the car. Keselowski insisted it was Kenseth's car and not his #2 Ford that bumped Stewart's Chevy. "I rubbed into the #20 (Kenseth), and I think he gassed up and ran into Tony, and I don't think Tony knew what was going on," Keselowski said. "He's upset, and he has every right to be. His car was tore up. There was a whole lot of other stuff going on. I'm sure when he sees the whole situation, he'll understand."
Kenseth, whose #20 Toyota had been damaged by contact from Keselowski's car on a restart with 63 laps left, jumped Keselowski as he was walking between haulers in the garage, and the drivers scuffled before being separated. "I had my HANS (head and neck restraint) off and my seat belts off and everything," Kenseth said of the hit from Keselowski on pit road. "He clobbered me at 50 (mph). And the access we have around here... the race is over, trying to come back to pit road... If you want to talk about it as a man, do that, but to try and wreck someone on the race track, come down pit road with other cars and people standing around with seat belts off and drive in the side of me-it's inexcusable. There is no excuse for that. He's a champion. He's supposed to know better than that."
Hamlin also had some harsh words for the 2012 champion. "There's a corner there, so you have to back off, and he just plowed into us," Hamlin said. "He's just out of control. He's desperate, obviously, and it's either four or five of us are wrong or he's wrong, because he's pissed off everyone. Just disappointing -- but we're trying to get in this deal. We're sitting in a decent spot, but we've lost six spots or so with the last restart when he ran into us and knocked us up the track. That was unfortunate. Matt (Kenseth) was nearly out of his car and he just plowed into Matt and then ran into Tony (Stewart) and then went in through the garage and cleared out transmissions and did burnouts in the garage."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-12-2014)
UPDATE #2-Brad Keselowski met with NASCAR after a cooling-off period. #20-Matt Kenseth crew chief Jason Ratcliff went voluntarily to talk to NASCAR, and Kenseth crew member Jesse Sanders was summoned by officials. It's not clear if Keselowski - or Hamlin or Kenseth - will be punished by NASCAR on Tuesday, the day penalties are traditionally issued. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the sanctioning body will review the final on-track laps, and everything that occurred on pit road and in the garage. NASCAR in May fined Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears for fighting in the garage after a race at Richmond. Harvick was fined in 2011 for a pit-road confrontation with Kyle Busch in which NASCAR cited safety concerns of Busch using his car to push Harvick's car away. The next year, Kurt Busch was fined $50,000 for dangerous driving on pit road when he hit Ryan Newman's car during a confrontation. But in the case of Saturday, with so much focus on the new Chase and the attention for the post-race skirmishes, it's not clear if NASCAR will punish those involved or pat them on the back. Harvick said there was no way NASCAR takes any action. "They love it. They were fighting afterwards, that's what it's all about," Harvick said.(Associated Press)(10-13-2014)
Gibbs says crew chief changes on hold: NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs told FOXSports.com Saturday that he his holding off on planned crew chief changes with his Sprint Cup team while his drivers battle for the championship and the team finalizes its NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsorship deals for next year. The hot rumor in the garage area is that #18-Kyle Busch's crew chief, Dave Rogers, will become JGR's competition director next year, with Adam Stevens moving to Busch's Cup car from the Nationwide Series. Likewise, Darian Grubb is thought to be in line to move from #11-Denny Hamlin's Cup car to the new fourth JGR Cup car with Carl Edwards for next year. But Gibbs said Saturday those plans are not final yet. "Our biggest concern is, we want to do everything at once," said Gibbs. "We've got a lot up in the air on the Nationwide side, still. And so, I think as soon as we get that settled down, we can kind of make an announcement." Typically, major Sprint Cup primary sponsorship deals are three years or so in duration. But on the Nationwide side, the deals are usually only one year at a time, and often not wrapped up until late January or early February, right before the racing season starts.(Fox Sports)(10-12-2014)
Toyota teams have limited time to test new Camry: Toyota unveiled its 2015 Sprint Cup Camry on Saturday with five weeks left in the 2014 season. That means the teams have five weeks to test. With a testing ban going into effect after Nov. 16's 2014 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing will experiment with the car. The 2015 car conforms with NASCAR's new lower horsepower, less downforce rules package. "We'll be at Nashville and things like that," MWR driver Clint Bowyer said. "We have (Goodyear test at) Auto Club Speedway, we have a Phoenix test coming up. We've got opportunities to get in this race car. I really see the new rule package that NASCAR has implemented being a bigger change feel-wise for a driver than this new car. If you're going to unveil a new car, this is a perfect time to do that because it's basically start over from scratch across the board for everybody."
The 2015 car includes changes to the hood, nose, tail and quarter windows. Both Ford and Chevy racing engineers were present at wind tunnel tests conducted by NASCAR to approve the Toyota design. "We hope it races better," said Dave Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development. "But realistically, practically speaking, it's not outside the box. It's still working with the same set of rules that we've had. We've got until the Sunday of Homestead. We'll test our guts out. We'll have this car on the race track a couple of times." While his drivers will want to test, JGR owner Joe Gibbs said the team must focus on 2014. All three of his drivers remain in the hunt for the title. "It'll be hard" to test, Gibbs said. "Our whole focus is on right now with where we are with the Chase and everything. I can't see us being able to do much."(Sporting News)(10-12-2014)
Kyle Busch to get a new crew chief in 2015?: Multiple sources say #18-Kyle Busch and longtime crew chief Dave Rogers will end their long-running association at season's end, as part of a multi-divisional realignment involving both JGR and Kyle Busch Motorsports. While Rogers' departure from the #18 team was announced in-house on Tuesday of this week, no one from JGR has commented publicly on the move. Rogers is expected to remain a part of JGR's Sprint Cup Series operation, possibly as crew chief for newcomer Carl Edwards' and the #19 Stanley Tools / ARRIS Toyota. Sources close to the team say Adam Stevens will move from JGR's Nationwide Series operation to replace Rogers atop the #18 pit box. Stevens has gone to Victory Lane five times this season with Busch, and is the obvious heir-apparent to Rogers. There is no word on the 2015 status of Darien Grubb, who currently serves as crew chief for Denny Hamlin's #11 Fed Ex Toyota at JGR. Jason Ratcliff is expected to return as crew chief for Matt Kenseth's #20 Toyota next season.(Godfather Motorsports)(10-3-2014)
Gibbs says crew chief changes coming: Joe Gibbs said he expects to announce multiple changes to the team's driver-crew chief lineup within about two weeks. "We've already decided," Gibbs said Wednesday of the moves, "but we need to talk to the sponsors and have quite a few discussions yet with people." Gibbs said the changes would be for next season. "We're kind of crew chief driven here," Gibbs said. "We spent a lot of time talking to all of our crew chiefs and making sure that we had the right lineup. The other key people you have to have involved in that, it always starts with the drivers. The drivers have strong feelings on who they feel like they can match up with. "That driver has got to believe in that crew chief, and that crew chief has got to believe in that driver. If you look at that over the years, that's a very hard thing to keep together. It is complicated. I think we've talked our way through all that. We've had a lot of intense meetings." The moves come with Carl Edwards joining the organization next year in a fourth car. That will require the team to find a crew chief for him. Kyle Busch has been with crew chief Dave Rogers since 2010 - the longest tenure among JGR's Sprint Cup teams. They've made the Chase four of their five seasons together, placing fourth last year. Frustration has mounted with the team, culminating with a radio exchange last month at Bristol where Rogers told Busch to "park it behind the truck and take your whiny little ass to the bus." Hamlin is in his third season with Darian Grubb. They've made the Chase twice. Hamlin's injuries caused him to miss it last year. Grubb returned last week after serving a six-week suspension when NASCAR discovered infractions with Hamlin's third-place car at Indianapolis. Hamlin is sixth in the points. Matt Kenseth, 10th in the points, is in his second year with Jason Ratcliff. They've made the Chase both years, finishing second last season after winning series-high seven races. Kenseth made the Chase this year despite not winning a race.(MRN)(9-18-2014)
Darian Grubb returns to the track: Darian Gubbb, crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin, returned to the track Friday at Chicagoland Speedway after serving a 6 week suspension handed down by NASCAR following the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He met with the media at Chicago and discussed the penalty and plans for next year:
Do you know what happened in Indy that took you away from the race track for six races?
"The same parts that have been in there, it was actually new parts that week on our car. It was a nut plate that is used as an aircraft fastener and it didn't have enough torque on it and backed off and came loose. It's something that we've taken out of the cars and have never seen again and never seen before. It's a 27 cent part that came loose, wasn't torqued correctly."
Was it intentional or a gray area?
"No, not a gray area, not anything intentional. There's not any real performance gain there. Everybody in the garage uses those same covers and they came loose the week they shouldn't have."
Did anything become clearer over the last six weeks? [In regards to plans for next year]:
"No, we're still working on a lot of things and concentrating on winning a championship for Joe Gibbs Racing in the FedEx Toyota right now."(Toyota PR)(9-13-2014)
Short Track Showdown donation to CHoR & CFF: With proceeds from the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown race held last April, Mary Lou Hamlin of the Denny Hamlin Foundation presented a $50,000 check today to Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The donation represents the third and final installment of the $150,000 grant commitment made in 2012 to help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at CHoR and support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Therapeutics Development Center at VCU. A sell-out crowd and great racing action once again made the seventh annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown a huge success this year. The celebrity-laden Late Model charity race, held April 24 at historic South Boston (Va.) Speedway for the first time, featured the Virginia-bred Hamlin and other stars of NASCAR against many of the area's top Late Model racers.
"The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown was a big hit again," said Hamlin, who last raced at South Boston in 2003. "The crew and fans at South Boston really responded and gave us former SoBo regulars a great welcome back. With such great fan and sponsor support of the event, the Denny Hamlin Foundation is able to advance the great work coming from the Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab, and help move vital Cystic Fibrosis therapies forward to help all individuals with CF."
While Hamlin was joined by fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and David Ragan, plus former South Boston track champion Timothy Peters, it was Matt Bowling of Ridgeway, Va. who sped past race leader Matt Waltz with five laps to go to take home the checkered flag and the $10,000 winner's check.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a fatal genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. CF causes chronic infections in the lungs and inadequate digestion of nutrients. There is no cure for CF, but medical advances have doubled the life expectancy of children in the last 30 years and increased the overall median age of survival to 40. CHoR has a large research staff focused on finding a cure for CF and in developing new therapies for CF. As the only CF Foundation-accredited center in the greater Richmond area, CF patients cared for at CHoR have access to the latest therapies and can participate in groundbreaking clinical studies.
The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown began in 2008 at Southside Speedway, a local short track near Hamlin's hometown of Chesterfield, Va., outside of Richmond, before moving to Richmond International Raceway in 2011 to pair up as a doubleheader with the NASCAR K&N Series. For its seventh year in 2014, the race moved just over 100 miles southeast to South Boston Speedway, another Virginia short track with a long history in stock car racing. For 2015, the event returns to South Boston Speedway on Thursday, April 23. The success of this event was also made possible by the support of sponsors FedEx, Sun Trust, Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing, Sprint, Danville Toyota, Sport Clips, Steel and Stock Car Aluminum, Inc., and the NASCAR Foundation.
The Short Track Showdown is one of two major fundraising events hosted by the Denny Hamlin Foundation this year. The other is Denny & Mark's ProAm Jam concert and golf event, held Oct. 27-28 at Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) among other beneficiaries.(dennyhamlinfoundation.org)(9-7-2014)
Joe Gibbs Racing, new air guns? UPDATE same guns all season: Denny Hamlin's #11 team was especially strong at Atlanta Motor Speedway, performing 11-second pit stops every time their driver came to pit road. While no one seemed to be able to get by #4-Kevin Harvick on the track, Hamlin's pit crew successfully gave him the lead multiple times throughout the night. The team's fastest stop of the night came at Lap 174, when the pit crew changed four tires and added two cans of fuel in an astonishing 11.0 seconds. Another thing that helped the JGR teams beat the competition on pit road is a reportedly new generation air gun being utilized by the teams as of late. Though few details are known about the new air guns at this point, their advantage was clear Sunday night. After the race, Kenseth would not go into details about the new technology, saying he honestly had no idea, but credited the organization's training skills for the fast stops.(in part from FoxSports) and see an opinion piece about the air guns at Pit Talks: Gibbs dominance on pit road in Atlanta has everyone talking.(9-2-2014)
UPDATE: As the JGR team of Denny Hamlin consistently beat the Stewart-Haas Racing team of Kevin Harvick off pit road Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Harvick crew chief Rodney Childers told Harvick that JGR had some new air guns they were using. Mike Lepp, the JGR athletic director who oversees the pit crews, swears that these are the guns that they have been using all year to loosen and tighten lugnuts during a pit stop. He said the team typically has some pit stops under 12 seconds and others over 12 seconds but Sunday whipped off all pit stops under 12 seconds. With JGR not having been in contention to win as many races this year, it just became noticeable Sunday with Hamlin and Harvick battling for the lead. Lepp said he believes it was just Childers trying to calm down his driver. "There wasn't anything new or anything," Lepp said in a phone interview Tuesday with the Sporting News. "It was an attempt to calm his driver down. ... (Like the cars), it's the same thing with these guys, you still have to have good athletes. But there's nothing that we brought to Atlanta that we haven't been bringing. The difference is we were running up front. When you go from 12th to ninth, you're not going to be feature (on TV)." Childers said Monday in an email that he wasn't trying to knock the JGR pit crew ability and talked to Lepp to make sure there were no hard feelings. Childers did say he believes the JGR air guns are better than the current ones SHR uses. But what about the sound of the guns? The guns might sound different depending on the tire changer, Lepp said. Each of the major teams make their own guns, which must be air-powered, and each tire changer is responsible for determining how fast they go. The only rule on air guns dictates that they must be NASCAR approved, air-powered and can only do one lugnut at a time. A NASCAR spokesman said Tuesday that it has "no issue whatsoever" with the air guns that JGR is using.(Sporting News)(9-3-2014)
Hamlin has no issue with Harvick after Bristol: #11-Denny Hamlin clearly showed his displeasure with #4-Kevin Harvick Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Racing for the lead early in the race, Harvick came off Turn 4 and clipped the left rear of Hamlin's car, sending it nose-first into the inside wall. Hamlin's car then shot up the track and into the path of Dale Earnhardt Jr., ending both drivers' night. After the incident, Hamlin threw his HANS device at Harvick's car under caution, saying afterward that was as mad as he could remember. Despite the HANS throwing incident, Hamlin told FOX Sports 1 on Friday he has no issues with Harvick, who reached out to apologize shortly after Saturday night's race. "I think it was like eight minutes after the checkered flag he reached out to me," Hamlin told Bob Dillner. "Like I said in my interview (at Bristol), Kevin's a great driver. He knows what he's doing. He just made a little mistake. We all do it at one point or another. I've got no problems at all."(FoxSports)(8-30-2014)
Spun by Harvick, Hamlin fires safety device at him: #11-Denny Hamlin hurled his HANS (head and neck support device) up the track toward rival Kevin Harvick's #4 Chevrolet after Harvick spun him. Hamlin was leading the race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway when the incident occurred on lap 161. Hamlin got the lead through pit strategy, but Harvick had been hounding him for several laps. As Hamlin drove into Turn 1, Harvick lost control of his car and slid up into Hamlin's #11 Toyota, sending him spinning. After Hamlin bounced off the inside wall, he was hit by Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose #88 car lost one of its sides and all its safety foam. Hamlin waited on the safety crew before getting out of the car, following the new protocol set last week by NASCAR. But after gathering items from inside his car, he heaved the HANS device up the track toward Harvick's car as it came back by under caution as safety workers stood by. Hamlin remained on the apron when he made the toss. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said after the race that it's unlikely Hamlin will be penalized for throwing the device. Last Friday, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton announced the sanctioning body was adding a rule to keep drivers in their cars after accidents and when races were under caution until safety crews arrive. Drivers cannot walk onto the track or toward another car. The rule came in the wake of a sprint car accident in upstate New York on Aug. 9 in which driver Kevin Ward Jr. was struck and killed by Tony Stewart's car when Ward exited his car and walked down onto the racing surface.(USA Today)(8-24-2014)
Stewart-Haas lining up test sessions for rest of year: With five races left to make the Chase, Stewart-Haas Racing is doing what it can get to get Tony Stewart a win. One thing the team won't be doing, though, is testing at a NASCAR Sprint Cup track before the Chase field set. It's not that the team didn't want to, it just couldn't make it work, said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing. "We tried to go to Atlanta," Zipadelli said of a track before the Chase. "We couldn't get it worked out. We tried a couple of other places. It's become very difficult getting four drivers on the same schedule to come and test because they've got so many appearance, so much stuff that they do for track promotions and NASCAR. It's insane." With all four tests at Cup tracks available, Stewart-Haas Racing will test test Aug. 25-26 at Chicagoland Speedway and Sept. 2-3 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The team also plans to save a test for the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and is deciding where to have the fourth test, possibly Martinsville Speedway or Texas Motor Speedway.(Motor Racing Network)(8-10-2014)
Gibbs will not appeal Hamlin's penalties: Joe Gibbs Racing will not appeal the hefty NASCAR penalties issued last week for not having the firewall sealed in Denny Hamlin's car during the July 27 Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The penalties included six-week suspensions for crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill, a $125,000 fine to Grubb and a 75-point penalty for Hamlin as well as a 75-point reduction in owner points. JGR initially had planned to appeal, but JGR spokesman Chris Helein confirmed Thursday that it will not appeal.(Sporting News)(8-7-2014)
NASCAR confiscates parts from #11 Toyota UPDATES: NASCAR discovered "possible issues" with the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin in post-race inspection at Indy. At question were rear firewall block-off plates on Hamlin's car. According to NASCAR the parts were confiscated and taken back to the research and development center in Concord, N.C. for further evaluation. According to one crew chief, If the block-off plates are not sealed off sufficiently, air can flow through the firewall enabling the car to gain anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds of rear downforce. Hamlin qualified 27th. After Hamlin pitted on Lap 55 from the lead, he fell to 13th but quickly made his way back to the front of the back to finish third on Sunday. He led 18 laps.(Motorsport)(7-27-2014)
UPDATE: The #11 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered in post-race inspection July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This infraction is a P5 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.5 A (9) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:
Approved parts that fail or are improperly installed to fail in their intended use of great importance (e.g.; rear wheel well panels that fail and allow air evacuation in the trunk area; oil box cover that fails and allows air evacuation in the driver compartment; shifter boot cover that fails and allows air evacuation through the floor pan).
This infraction violates Sections:
12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
20-2.1 - Car body must be acceptable to NASCAR officials and meet the following requirements:
ˇ K - Any device or ductwork that permits air to pass from one area of the interior of the car to another, or to the outside of the car, will not be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, the inside of the car to the trunk area, or the floors, firewalls, crush panels and wheel wells passing air into or out of the car;
ˇ L - All seams of the interior sheet metal and all interior sheet metal to exterior sheet metal contact point must be sealed and caulked. This includes, but is not limited to, floors, firewalls, wheel wells, package trays, crush panels and any removable covers;
20-3.4 - All references to the inspection surface in sub-section 20-3.4 have been determined with the front lower edge of both main frame rails set at six inches and the rear lower edge of both main frame rails set at eight inches. For driver protection, all firewalls, floors, tunnels, and access panels must be installed and completely secured in place when the car is in competition;
20-3.4.5 - A rear firewall, including any removable panels or access doors, constructed using magnetic sheet steel a minimum of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick), must be located between the trunk area and the driver's compartment and must be welded in place. Block-off plates/covers used in rear firewalls in place of blowers, oil coolers, etc., must be constructed of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick) magnetic sheet steel. Block-off plates/covers must be installed with positive fasteners and sealed to prevent air leakage. Carbon fiber or aluminum block-off plates/covers will not be permitted.
Per Section 12-4.5 B, the minimum P5 penalty includes:
ˇ Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a championship race or not;
ˇ $75,000 to $125,000 fine;
ˇ Suspension for the next six series championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR;
ˇ Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons.
Since this infraction is a P5 level penalty and was discovered in post-race inspection, Section 12-4.5 C (1,2) also applies:
ˇ If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added:
o Loss of an additional 25 championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a championship race or not;
o Loss of an additional $50,000.
As a result of these violations, crew chief Darian Grubb has been fined $75,000 plus an additional $50,000 post-race fine for a total of $125,000. Grubb has also been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period. Grubb will also be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
Car chief Wesley Sherrill has been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period and will be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
This infraction has also cost the #11 team the loss of 50 championship driver and owner (Denny Hamlin and J.D. Gibbs) points plus an additional 25 post-race points for a total loss of 75 championship driver and 75 championship owner points.(NASCAR)(7-29-2014)
Gibbs statement:Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is aware of the penalty issued by NASCAR today regarding the #11 team's post-race inspection infraction following Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race in Indianapolis. JGR will plan to appeal the penalty, however, crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill will begin to serve their suspensions starting this weekend in Pocono.(Gibbs PR)(7-29-2014)
Gibbs Hints of 4th Team in 2015: Team owner Joe Gibbs side-stepped questions about Carl Edwards' expected move to his race team. "We don't have anything right now to announce," Gibbs said on pit road before Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Anything that we're going to do will be coming up in the future. I'm not sure exactly what the time line is." Gibbs did allow that his organization is making a more concerted effort this year to field a fourth team in 2015 than has been the case in the past. "We've been (preparing for a fourth team) each and every year," Gibbs said. "But it's so hard to do that, we haven't been able to get it done. But I think we're taking a serious look at it this year." Asked if those efforts involved signing a serious driver, Gibbs replied, "You've got to have a serious sponsor." But he did acknowledge Edwards' star power. "When Carl's name came up during this year ... almost everybody recognizes Carl as being somebody I think is a star," Gibbs said. "Because of that, there are a lot of teams that have tried to entice him."(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-28-2014)
JGR plane hits parked SHR plane at Concord airport: A Joe Gibbs Racing plane collided with a parked plane from Stewart-Haas Racing at Concord Regional Airport on Sunday night as the NASCAR teams were returning to the Charlotte area after Sunday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to the Haas team. A spokesman for Stewart-Haas Racing said the team's empty, parked plane was hit by a Joe Gibbs Racing plane as it was parking. The plane's wing clipped the tail of the parked SHR plane. No one was hurt, the spokesman said.(Charlotte Observer)(7-28-2014)
Hamlin, Stenhouse, Waltrip compete on golf tournament: #11-Denny Hamlin, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and #66-Michael Waltrip competed in the 2014 American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe over the weekend. Stenhouse was initially the favorite of the group, listed at 50-1 odds by Harrah's/Harveys Lake Tahoe Race & Sports Book to win. Hamlin and Waltrip were both listed at 200-1. The American Century Championship was celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year with a special salute to America's Armed Forces. As part of that initiative, Col. Chad Pfeifer, three-time winner of President George W. Bush's Warrior Open and the 2011 National Amputee Tournament champion, joined the field. Pfeifer lost his leg in an IED explosion while on patrol in Iraq in 2007.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Hamlin was 55th, Stenhouse was tied for 56th, and Waltrip finished tied for 71st. The tournament was won by former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien. See more about the tournament on the NASCAR Related Charities Events and News page.(7-21-2014)
Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE: A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing. The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future. In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport's teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams' operations to drive efficiencies in costs. Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.
"With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group." said Kauffman. "The key word is 'Collaboration'. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motor Sports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.(RTA)(7-7-2014)
UPDATE: Statement from NASCAR: "We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we're still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR's mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will."(NASCAR)(7-7-2014)
Special Autism Speaks scheme for Hamlin: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota, will run a special Autism Speaks puzzle piece paint scheme on his car throughout the NASCAR race weekend at Dover International Speedway. This marks the fourth straight year Hamlin will sport a unique paint scheme at the spring Dover event, headlined by the June 1 "FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks" Sprint Cup Series race. This year's design allowed fans to make donations to Autism Speaks and in return have their first name and last initial displayed on a puzzle piece in the car's design. The campaign was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for fans to help in raising funds for the autism community while having something personal take part in the racing action at the Monster Mile. In addition to Hamlin's specialized car design, drivers across all three series - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series - will show their support for Autism Speaks throughout the weekend by displaying a puzzle piece decal on their cars. In total, 28 drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 19 drivers from the NASCAR Nationwide Series and 20 drivers from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are participating. This marks the eighth straight year that the Monster Mile is partnering with Autism Speaks, and the fourth year in a row that FedEx has been involved. Autism Speaks is the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, to help raise funds and awareness for the cause throughout the weekend. Cup team running the puzzle piece decal include: #1-McMurray, #3-Dillon, #4-Harvick, #7-Annett, #9-Ambrose, #10-Patrick, #13-Mears, #14-Stewart, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #20-Kenseth, #23-Bowman, #26-Whitt, #27-Menard, #31-Newman, #34-Ragan, #36-Sorenson, #38-Gilliland, #41-Busch, #42-Larson, #43-Almirola, #47-Allmendinger, #51-Allgaier, #55-Vickers, #78-Truex Jr., #83-Truex, and #99-Edwards.(Dover Speedway PR), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(5-30-3014)
Is Joe Gibbs Racing ready to expand? with Edwards? With silly season in full swing, it's not surprising that Joe Gibbs is in the middle of it. Over the last month, the rumors of Carl Edwards considering a move to JGR have picked up considerably. But Coach says it would take a lot for JGR to add a fourth team. "I'm not going to guess on stuff and the rumors and everything," Gibbs said. "We get into this every year and there's a period we kind of got to go through, I've come to feel." When asked specifically about Edwards, Gibbs would not offer a definitive answer. "Anything that's going on right now, to me, is kind of that rumor time - and I don't think I need to be commenting on it," Gibbs said. "So many times when the top guys come up, everybody in the sport kind of looks at it. There's a couple of guys this year - that are on their last year, so it kind of happens." JGR expanded to three full-time teams in 2005, but moved to three full-time drivers with the addition of Denny Hamlin in 2006. Inevitably, it's a question as to whether a fourth team makes sense for JGR. "We have said for the last five years that when things come up we have always looked at it," Gibbs said. "But it's hard to do. Like I've said, it's extremely hard to do cause you've get so many things to work to make it happen. I'd say for the last four to five years we've looked at it, but it's hard to do and we haven't been able to think it's best for us."(Motorsport)(5-18-2014)
Win 204 for car #11: #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, 2014 was car #11's 204th win in the Sprint Cup Series. This win is now five wins ahead of the iconic #43 for all-time wins in Sprint Cup Series history for a car number. Richard Petty, who drove the #43 for most of his 200 wins, actually won 192 races running the #43 and 8 in other car numbers [#41 & #42]. The car number in third is the car #3 with 97 wins. See all kinds of car number stats and records on my Wins by Car Number page.(5-5-2014)
Hamlin joins a select crowd, winning in 300th start: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for his 24th career win in his 300th career start. Four other drivers to have won in their 300th start:
Ned Jarrett in 1965, Rusty Wallace in 1993, Kasey Kahne in 2012 and Kyle Busch in 2013.(5-5-2014)
Hamlin wins at Talladega: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for his 1st win of 2014, his first restrictor plate track win and his 24th career win.
#16-Biffle finished 2nd followed by #15-Bowyer, #55-Vickers, #47-Allmendinger, #27-Menard, #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #42-Larson and #17-Stenhouse Jr. #40-Landon Cassill scored his career best finish at 11th and #7-Michael Annett scored his career best finish at 16th.
#33-Scott, who won the pole, was involved in a wreck on lap 137 and finished 42nd.
#24-Gordon, who came into the race as the points leader, was involved in the first big wreck and finished 39th but still leads the points by 3 over #20-Kenseth.
#22-Logano leads the Chase Seeding with two wins. #4-Harvick is second, also with 2 wins, but lower in points. They are followed by #18-Busch, #99-Edwards and #88-Earnhardt, Jr.
There were two big wrecks:
On lap 137: #2-Keselowski, who was 6 laps down at the time, got loose and spun, involving: #21-Bayne, #24-Gordon, #14-Stewart, #7-Annett, #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #23-Bowman, #26-Whitt, #27-Menard, #33-Scott and #48-Johnson.
On lap 175: #48-Johnson got loose, got into #17-Stenhouse, moved up into #22-Logano who went into the outside wall involving: #41-Busch, #34-Ragan, #95-McDowell and #36-Sorenson.
There were 48 lead changes among 23 drivers and there were 8 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 152.103.(5-4-2014)
Career start #300 for Hamlin: #11-Denny Hamlin will make his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on Sunday at Talladega. In the first 299, Hamlin has 23 wins, which ranks tied for 30th on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list.(NASCAR)(5-2-2014)
Matt Bowling wins Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: Matt Bowling won the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on Thursday night at South Boston Speedway, fighting off Matt Waltz in the seventh edition of the charity race. The event benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation and raises awareness and funding to support Cystic Fibrosis research and new therapies in the region. Nick Smith finished third. Hamlin was eighth, while defending Showdown champion Kyle Busch ended the night in fourth. Matt Kenseth was fifth, and David Reagan 20th. Truck Series driver Timothy Peters finished 27th after his night was cut short following a tangle with Jeb Burton, who finished 25th after getting into a scuffle with Blake Stallings.(Associated Press/ESPN)(4-25-2014)
Sports Clips returns to the #11 at Darlington: Sport Clips Racing is excited to enter its sixth season (2014) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing and will serve as the primary sponsor of NASCAR's Denny Hamlin's # 11 Sprint Cup car in Darlington (April) and Atlanta (August). Through their partnership with Darlington Raceway, Sport Clips will be the entitlement sponsor for Friday night's Nationwide Series race, showcasing their support for VFW with the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200. Sport Clips will continue to use its NASCAR partnership to raise awareness about the struggles many military families are facing and the VFW's mission to support active-duty military, veterans and their families. As the "Official Haircutter" of the VFW, Sport Clips has donated more than $2 million to the organization through its annual "Help A Hero" campaign, which was established in 2007.. Eligible service members can now apply through April 30 at www.VFW.org/scholarship.(Sports Clips)(4-11-2014)
March of Dimes scheme for Hamlin at Texas: To help raise awareness for the March of Dimes and March for Babies walks around the country, Denny Hamlin and Dallas Cowboys All-Pro tight end Jason Witten will host the March of Dimes national ambassador family for a VIP experience during the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. For the seventh-consecutive NASCAR season, FedEx is working with the March of Dimes for a special #11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes paint scheme, in an effort to help give every baby a healthy start in life. Aidan Lamothe is the 2014 March of Dimes National Ambassador. Born 12 weeks premature, Aidan weighed just 3 pounds and spent 7 weeks in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). With the help of the March of Dimes, he is now a healthy 6-year-old.(FedExRacing), see images of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-4-2014)
Hamlin discusses issue with eye at Fontana: Friday at Martinsville Speedway, #11-Denny Hamlin talked about the series of events that caused him to set out the race at Auto Club Speedway:
"I literally thought on Friday that I was starting to get a sty. It happened sometime during practice whether it came in through the car or through the air conditioning unit through the helmet -- something, it came in through somewhere, but I don't remember the exact time when it happened. Friday evening I definitely felt an agitation right in the corner to my upper eyelid so I thought I was getting a sty because it just felt like one. Then Saturday, I woke up and it was a little worse. I ran through practice and vision was fine, but just a lot of watering and I didn't see any swelling of the eyelid so I knew it wasn't a sty at that point. I didn't go to the infield care center until late on Saturday. Me and my girlfriend went to the mall -- we were shopping around and it was bothering me so much that I contacted one of the NASCAR liaisons and asked if anyone was still at the infield care center. They said they would wait on me so they waited on me. They looked at it, they dyed it, they put it under a black light -- didn't see any scratches, didn't see anything in the eye.
Immediately we started trying to figure out what would be causing it if there's nothing in it. The only thing I could think of is I was starting to actually get a little stuffy on my left hand side of my face and my nose was running a little bit. I mentioned to them in trying to cover all the possibilities that I showed them a CT scan from January where I had a really, really bad sinus infection -- it was the worst the doctor has ever seen and Dr. Petty has been around a really, really long time.
So the only other option, I went to bed Saturday night, woke up Sunday and felt twice as worse -- pain was twice as worse and vision was slightly impaired over where it was Saturday. So I stayed in the infield care center for a couple hours and we tried to go over all the possibilities of what it could be and really since they didn't see anything in it, the only thing we could do was get an optometrist to come to the race track, which it was too late into the day for that, it was too late for me to go to one and come back in time so everyone came to an agreement that the best thing for me was to go to the hospital and get scanned in case.
There's tons of different possibilities, whether it be a blood clot -- anything that affects because there's more to it, but any time wind would hit my eye it would shoot a pain right to my temple so they thought that there was something really bad going on behind the eye that they didn't have the equipment in the infield care center -- you need some pretty -- you need to get a CT scan. By the time I got to the hospital and the optometrist came in with her microscope, saw the metal, got it out -- a portion of it, she couldn't get the rust out she said -- it would need a couple more days for that to harden to get out. Once the metal came out, I felt a lot better. We went home, the CT scan showed that I was perfectly clear on the sinus part of it.
Long story short, it won't keep me from going to the infield care center at any point. I wanted to race of course, no matter what. I felt like if I was going to be a liability I would have pulled myself during the race, but there's protocols that we have to go through and it's not just my safety that has got to be taken into account. We're racing around other guys and that's one of the fastest tracks we go to. What if I caused a wreck early on? I don't need to be a liability out there and obviously with this new format we hardly lost anything in points."(Toyota Racing PR)(3-29-2014)
Hamlin cleared to return at Martinsville: Joe Gibbs Racing driver #11-Denny Hamlin will race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway after NASCAR received official confirmation from his doctors that he has been medically cleared to return to regular racing activities. Hamlin first visited the infield care center at Auto Club Speedway Saturday night bothered with an irritation in his eye. He returned to the infield care center again on Sunday morning because his condition had worsened. It was at this time that it was determined by the medical team onsite that he would not be allowed to race due to a sinus infection that was impacting his vision. The doctors at the infield care center referred him to the local hospital for further evaluation. During the evaluation at the hospital a small piece of metal was also found to be in Hamlin's eye. Doctors were able to remove the sliver of metal and Hamlin felt immediate improvement to his condition. A CT Scan did not find any other complications and thus it is believed that the metal was actually the source of Hamlin's vision issues. He was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon and was given the doctor's approval to fly home. Hamlin was then evaluated by a doctor in the Charlotte area on Monday and was sent home to rest. He was instructed to return Wednesday for a follow-up examination. Following today's examination, his doctors provided the necessary approval for Hamlin to resume all racing activity without restriction. NASCAR has received official confirmation from his doctors clearing him to resume racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-26-2014)
More info on Hamlin expected Wednesday: #11-Denny Hamlin, who missed Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway, tweeted Tuesday evening, "With due respect to the Petty family I will send out a update tomorrow. Please keep their family in your thoughts tonight."(3-26-2014)
Earnhardt, Jr. wants NASCAR to address Hamlin's issue: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to know why there hasn't been more information about what caused #11-Denny Hamlin to miss Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin was taken to a local hospital shortly before the race with what Joe Gibbs Racing said was a sinus infection that affected his vision. But Earnhardt wondered aloud why there has been no official NASCAR statement or further explanation from Hamlin on what happened. No further updates were expected from NASCAR or Joe Gibbs Racing on Tuesday and Hamlin has not been officially cleared for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt said there were questions because he'd never heard of a driver being pulled from the race shortly before the start after not being cleared to race by NASCAR. "I'm worried the perception is bad for NASCAR and the perception is bad for Denny," Earnhardt said Tuesday. "... If Denny didn't race because his vision is blurred and he had a sinus infection, NASCAR should put out a release and say, 'This is the timeline of the events and this is why we made this choice and this is the protocol for going forward.' That answers everybody's questions. Don't you have questions? I have questions. We shouldn't have questions. We should all feel pretty comfortable with what happened." Hamlin is expected to see doctors in Charlotte this week. He cannot race until he is cleared by a NASCAR-approved doctor. If he does not qualify Friday at Martinsville or race on Sunday, he would need another medical exemption from NASCAR in order to remain eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(USA Today)(3-26-2014)
Hamlin to be further evaluated this week: #11-Denny Hamlin remained in a local hospital Sunday afternoon undergoing a CT scan to see what may be causing severe headaches and vision problems his Joe Gibbs Racing team confirmed. Sam Hornish Jr. substituted behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Toyota in Sunday's Auto Club 400 because in the hour before the green flag dropped NASCAR did not medically clear Hamlin to compete. "We do (go forward assuming Denny will be back next week.)," his crew chief Darian Grubb said after the race. "But it's going to be touch and go for right now obviously with him still in the hospital getting a CT Scan. Last I heard the vision was getting worse and the pain was getting worse so we're just going to wait and see what happens. Hopefully we'll get some good news this afternoon." Before the race, JGR President J.D. Gibbs said initially the team thought it was a sinus infection that was causing the headaches and vision issues. But Grubb said it soon became apparent, it may be more serious. "For him to go the infield care center, for one thing, it must have been pretty bad for him," Grubb said. "Then it got to where he couldn't see and was having trouble with vision in his left eye with all the pressure that was going on. At that point, NASCAR did some testing and knew he could not follow the finger going by his eyes as he should have been so they knew at that point,they weren't going to let him go. It wasn't just a headache, it was more serious than that. That's why they're doing the CT Scan now. He had them on the whole time and was just holding his head, it hurt him so bad. You could tell by the look on his face he was really worried." Team owner Joe Gibbs confirmed that Hamlin left the track immediately before the race started and that by late afternoon "they are still running tests. It will be later on before we get results."(NASCAR.com)(3-24-2014)
JGR Statement: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin was not medically cleared in today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway because of a sinus infection that affected his vision. Hamlin was taken to a local hospital near the race track for additional evaluation and released. He will be further evaluated this week in Charlotte.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-24-2014)
Hamlin to miss Auto Club race; Hornish to fill in: #11-Denny Hamlin developed a sinus infection while in Fontana that has effected his vision. Doctors have advised him not to race. He was taken to the hospital for further treatment. Sam Hornish, Jr will fill in for Hamlin. Missing the race will not impact Hamlin's Chase changes because he qualified the car and would likely receive a medical exemption from NASCAR if it had been needed. Hornish will start the race from the rear because of the driver change.(3-23-2014)
Auto Club Speedway adds SAFER barrier: When #11-Denny Hamlin returns to Auto Club Speedway this week, he'll find more of the SAFER barrier in the area where he crashed last year. The Southern California facility has added an additional 1,000 feet of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier inside Turn 4, according to a track spokesman. The change was made in September, six months after Hamlin sustained a broken back vertebra after crashing into an unprotected area of the wall in the track's Sprint Cup Series event last March. In the wake of the accident, NASCAR officials said experts would reevaluate that section of the wall and recommend changes if necessary. SAFER barriers are typically first installed along the parts of track walls where impacts are most likely to occur, but it's not uncommon for the barriers to be added or altered in reaction to accidents. A Jeff Gordon hit at Las Vegas, an Elliott Sadler incident at Pocono and a Jeff Fuller accident at Kentucky each resulted in changes being made to walls or barriers at those facilities.(NASCAR.com)(3-19-2014)
Hamlin, Logano feud still lingers: Their feud started with some Twitter posts about the closing laps of the Daytona 500 and it heightened three weeks later at Bristol Motor Speedway, where an on-track spin nearly led to post-race fisticuffs. Things took a turn for the worse between #11-Denny Hamlin and #22-Joey Logano a week later at Fontana when the two drivers refused to give an inch while attempting to win. It led to a crash, a broken vertebra for Hamlin and a destroyed relationship between the former teammates. As they return this weekend to Bristol a year later, Hamlin has finally put his malevolent feelings toward Logano aside.
"We're OK," Hamlin said. "We don't talk or anything like that more than we should and really no less than we should, I would say. You can hold grudges all you want, but it's not going to make you any faster and it's not going to get you any closer to a championship. I'm bitter in ways, and in other ways it's been so long ago and there's so many trials and tribulations between then and now, that I think I'm a better person now and I think I'm a better driver now."
Said Logano: "I feel like we're fine. A year is a long time. It's over now. I feel like we've moved on. Obviously, people were talking about it this week because it's the one-year anniversary of the whole fiasco," Logano said. "But you move on and forget about things. You're supposed to forgive and forget and that goes both ways, so we both knew what we had to do and I feel like we've moved on and we're going from there."
"As far as my relationship with him, I treat him with respect on the race track, as I should," said Hamlin, who chooses to limit his conversations with Logano because "what do you say? How can you express how upset you are with someone without punching them?"(Associated Press)(3-16-2014)
Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Ragan running in Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: NASCAR stars #18-Kyle Busch and #20-Matt Kenseth are joining host Denny Hamlin as headliners for the celebrity-laden Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown scheduled for South Boston Speedway on April 24. The three teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing have a combined 82 NASCAR Sprint Cup series wins among them. Defending champion Busch is the only three-time winner of the Short Track Showdown. Fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup driver David Ragan also confirmed his participation in the charity event. Like Hamlin, another group of drivers is returning to South Boston Speedway, the track referred to as SoBo that served as a major springboard for their entry into NASCAR. Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton and Drew Herring are scheduled to race the 200-lap Short Track Showdown along with many of the top Late Model racers in the region. Elliott Sadler, Peters and Herring each won track championships at South Boston. Scheduled as a weekday prelude for the weekend NASCAR races at Richmond International Speedway, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown raises awareness and funding for the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which supports and funds Cystic Fibrosis research and new therapies in the region. Advance tickets to the Short Track Showdown are available by calling the track ticket hotline at 1-877-440-1540. General admission is $20 Advance/$25 Race Day for Adult; $10 Advance/$15 Race Day for Youth (ages 12-17); and Free for Children ages 11 and under (with an Adult ticket purchase). Season passes are not honored for this special event.(Denny Hamlin Foundation)(3-13-2014)
Hamlin going for the triple: #11-Denny Hamlin is attempting to do something no other driver has done. Win the Sprint Unlimited, a Budweiser Duel and the Daytona 500 in the same year. Nine drivers have won the Sprint Unlimited and a Budweiser Duel 13 times in the same year but didn't win the Daytona 500:
year, driver, Daytona finish, Daytona 500 winner
2014: Denny Hamlin, finished 2nd, won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2013: Kevin Harvick, finished 42nd, won by Jimmie Johnson
2011: Kurt Busch, 5th, won by Trevor Bayne
2008: Dale Earnhardt Jr., 9th, Ryan Newman
2007: Tony Stewart, 43rd, Kevin Harvick
2003: Dale Earnhardt Jr., 36th, Michael Waltrip
1995: Dale Earnhardt, 2nd, Sterling Marlin
1993: Dale Earnhardt, 2nd, Dale Jarrett
1991: Dale Earnhardt, 5th, Ernie Irvan
1989: Ken Schrader, 2nd, Darrell Waltrip
1986: Dale Earnhardt, 14th, Geoff Bodine
1983: Neil Bonnett, 22nd, Cale Yarborough
1981: Darrell Waltrip, 36th, Richard Petty
1979: Buddy Baker, 40th, Richard Petty (2-23-2014)
Hamlin wins Budweiser Duel 2: #11-Denny Hamlin won the second Budweiser Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway followed by #24-Gordon, #41-Busch, #27-Menard and #33-Scott. The race ended when #48-Johnson ran out of fuel coming to the checked flag and slowed, #1-McMurray got into the rear of the #48, crashing the #48 into the wall and collecting outside pole winner #78-Truex Jr., #15-Bowyer (who flipped over but landed on his wheels and kept driving), #99-Edwards, #66-Waltrip and #34-Ragan. Four drivers deep in 2013 owners points or low qualifying speed, raced into the Daytona 500: #21-Bayne (6th), #40-Cassill(9th), #32-Labonte(12th) and #52-Labonte(13th). No driver needed to use the past champions provisional.
Missing the Daytona 500: #83-Truex, #35-McClure, #87-Nemechek, #95-McDowell & #93-Shepherd.
See race results on the Budwesier Duel 1 Race Results page (pdf).(2-20-2014)
Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Changes to Front Office Structure: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today a re-organization to its management structure. Longtime JGR executives Dave Alpern and Todd Meredith have been named Chief Marketing officer and Chief Operations Officer, respectively. Both have over 20 years of experience in the sport and have been invaluable assets to J.D. and Joe Gibbs since the team's inception. In the front office, Alpern will oversee the team's three primary business units: Sponsorship, Communications and Marketing. Meredith will manage all departments involved in the racing operation.
"This is something that we believe will make us more efficient in all aspects of our organization," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Over the years we have grown from 18 employees to nearly 450 today, so it's important to review our structure and make sure we are operating in an efficient manner that best serves our partners. Todd (Meredith) and Dave (Alpern) have been with us from the beginning of our organization and have had a tremendous impact on our growth over the past 20 years. Their leadership will help guide JGR for years to come."
Dean Noble will continue his role of Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and will oversee sponsor contracts and business to business opportunities across JGR's partners. Also announced were the promotions of Heath Cherry, Vice President Sponsorship; Chris Helein, Vice President of Communications, and JJ Damato, Vice President Marketing Services, each of whom will report to Alpern. Cherry enters his 10th season with Joe Gibbs Racing and will direct the organization's sales efforts as well as the day to day sponsor management. He also currently serves as the rear tire carrier for JGR's #11 Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams.
Prior to joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, Helein was Vice President of Communications for Comcast SportsNet and more recently served as Vice President of Public Relations for the Washington Redskins. Helein will manage all traditional public relations as well as digital media. In addition, Jessica Smith, who serves as the PR representative for the No. 20 Sprint Cup Series team, will take on the additional role of Director of Media Relations to assist PR efforts across the organization. Bryan Cook has also been promoted to Director of Digital Media. Damato enters his 6th season with Joe Gibbs Racing after long stints with the National Hockey League and NASCAR. Damato will continue to manage Consumer Products along with other branding and marketing initiatives.(JGR)(2-10-2014)
Sports Clips continues partnership with JGR: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Sport Clips Haircuts announced they will continue their partnership during the 2014 NASCAR season with Sport Clips serving as the primary sponsor for a total of nine races. "Sport Clips is proud to announce our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2014 season," said Sport Clips CEO and Founder Gordon Logan. "All of us, including our Team Members at our 1,150 stores in 46 states, value the drive and integrity JGR demonstrates both on and off the track. We are proud to have Denny, Elliott and Drew represent our Sport Clips' Brand, and we look forward to an exciting season!"
During the 2014 season, Sport Clips will serve as the primary sponsor for Denny Hamlin and the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for two races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), marking the fifth season Hamlin has represented Sport Clips Racing. Hamlin will carry the colors of Sport Clips for the night race at Darlington Raceway on April 12 and again for the night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31. Hamlin's best finish for Sport Clips came at Atlanta Motor Speedway where he started seventh and led 105 of 327 laps on his way to securing his fourth of five wins during the 2012 season.
After making his debut with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013 and representing Sport Clips for seven races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), Elliott Sadler will run six races in 2014 in the #11 Sport Clips Toyota. Sadler's best finish in the Sport Clips Toyota came at Darlington Raceway where he finished second in the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200. Returning to the driver's seat for Sport Clips in 2014, Drew Herring will make one start for the long-time JGR partner when the Nationwide Series races at Chicago on September 13. Herring has competed in five races under the Sport Clips banner, earning one pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and earning a best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway in 2012.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(11-18-2013)
Hamlin wins at Homestead: #11-Denny Hamlin won the FORD EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speed for his 1st win of 2013, his 2nd win at Homestead and 23rd career win. The win allowed Hamlin to extend his season winning streak to at least one win in eight straight seasons.
Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 9th and won his 6th NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship by 19 points over #20-Kenseth. Pole sitter #20-Kenseth finished 2nd and led the most laps with 144 of 267 laps run.
#20-Kenseth finished 2nd followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr. #56-Truex Jr., #15-Bowyer, #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch, #22-Logano, #48-Johnson and #29-Harvick.
There were 22 lead changes among 8 drivers and 8 cautions for 37 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 130.693mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Homestead Race & Points Report (pdf).(11-17-2013)
Hamlin has not decided on off-season surgery: From #11-Denny Hamlin's media availability Friday at Martinsville:
Q: Have you made any decision about surgery in the off-season?
Hamlin: "As far as surgery, I still haven't decided on it. I still haven't met with the doctors to figure out the best option. I have been feeling so much better this last month or so that I'd like to steer away from surgery if possible. Obviously, I don't want to just cover up the pain with the treatments that I've been doing. That just numbs you a little bit. We still have an issue there that we have to address in the next month or so."(Toyota Racing PR)(10-26-2013)
Hamlin trying new treatment to avoid back surgery: #11-Denny Hamlin is trying a new treatment on his injured back in an effort to avoid offseason surgery. Painkiller injections in his spine the past two weeks have helped, but he won't know until the season ends if he's made enough progress to skip surgery. "These last two weeks, I've gotten some treatment done, and I've felt as good as I did before the accident," he said. "Now, the 10 races before that, I felt horrible. I had to get out of the car at Richmond during practice because I just couldn't handle it anymore, and there's been several instances where it was really, really bad. But this is hopefully going to buy me enough time to get healthy. That's the problem, there's just not enough time in our schedule to recover fully from an injury." Hamlin had persistent back trouble even before he suffered a compression fracture in a March accident that sidelined him for more than a month. With eight races left in the season, beginning Sunday at Dover, Hamlin said he needs time out of the car to rest and let his back heal.(Associated Press)(9-28-2013)
Joe Gibbs Racing Launches Chase Digital Magazine: Joe Gibbs Racing currently holds the first and second position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship standings, and now fans will have a unique way to follow the team over the next nine weeks with the launch of a new digital magazine. The magazine will be available on both Apple and Android devices including tablets. It will be available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and accessed through the following direct link: www.joegibbsracing.com/chaseapp. The magazine, which will be updated throughout the Chase and through the conclusion of the season, will feature profiles on each of Joe Gibbs Racing's three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The digital magazine will be informative for all NASCAR fans and not just those passionate about JGR's three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. It includes educational pieces that provide in-depth and interactive aspects of the sport including the importance of camber and toe to the performance of a race car. In addition, there is an infographic on each of the race tracks featured in the Chase. Of course there is plenty of information specific to JGR, including photo essays, video profiles of each driver, a feature on driver Darrell Wallace, Jr. and statistical analysis of each driver.(JGR)(9-20-2013)
Hamlin's back hasn't fully recovered: #11-Denny Hamlin's chronic back pain continues to plague the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. After Hamlin won the pole Friday, it was as if the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway exacerbated the problem. "My daily life is miserable," Hamlin said. "This is nothing." Surgery to repair his spine is still "on the table" at the end of the season. Hamlin contends that "once I'm strapped in I'm fine" but also acknowledges that certain tracks - such as Watkins Glen two weeks ago - "definitely took its toll." He describes the sensation as "a nagging pain that just won't go away" but one has to wonder how long Hamlin can play hurt. "I have to weigh the options," Hamlin said. "What options do I have? There are 10 different things you can do to help with either pain or the structure of your back I just have to figure out which one is the right one for me."(FoxSports)(8-26-2013)
Joe Gibbs Racing Partners with Pit Crew U: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that it has partnered with Pit Crew U, a division of Performance Instruction & Training, on a pit crew development program designed to keep a flow of talent coming to the organization for years to come. "It certainly is no secret how important pit crews have become in our sport especially with track position playing such a vital role in each race," said J.D. Gibbs, President of JGR. "We've always believed in developing our own talent through our driver program and our Nationwide Series program, which has seen many team members, including crew chiefs, make the step to the Sprint Cup Series. We're excited to partner with Pit Crew U now to make sure we have a consistent flow of over the wall talent coming to JGR in the years to come." Pit Crew U has produced some of the best over-the-wall talent in NASCAR with several of JGR's current Sprint Cup Series pit crew members having come out of their program. JGR will work with Pit Crew U to identify 10 talented athletes to form a development squad for their racing programs with the intent to eventually fill the organization's needs in their Nationwide Series programs and ultimately the Sprint Cup Series.(JGR)(8-15-2013)
Hamlin plans to start at Talladega UPDATE2 Hamlin cleared: #11-Denny Hamlin plans to start Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, but don't look for him to be in the car long. Assuming nothing changes during practice or qualifying, it will be the first race back for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver since suffering a compression fracture in his lower back on the final lap of the March 24 event at Auto Club Speedway in California. Hamlin tweeted on Tuesday that he was cleared "just to start,' Hamlin told ESPN.com at Kansas he would drop to the back of the pack at Talladega and ride around until the first caution, then give way to backup driver Brian Vickers.(ESPN)(4-30-2013)
UPDATE: NASCAR confirmed that medical clearance has not yet been given for Denny Hamlin to return to racing the #11 FedEx Toyota (many sources on Twitter)(5-1-2013)
UPDATE2: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin has received medical clearance to return to on-track activity beginning with this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota. Hamlin was injured during an accident at Auto Club Speedway and has missed the past four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races while recovering. Exact plans for this weekend will be determined by the team at Talladega.(JGR)(5-3-2013)
Hamlin discusses decision to set out Richmond; consideration of surgery: Denny Hamlin met with the media Thursday at Richmond:
What did the doctors see that is keeping you out of this race?
"They were -- during our call yesterday they were speaking as much Chinese as I could understand. I saw the scan and saw the healing that they were talking about. However, some kind of in-plate is not healing the way that they wanted it and that's what they wanted in order to clear me. Really, that was their determining factor and, obviously, my injury is very, very hard because there is no exact science to the risk. They don't -- no one knows what the risk will be if I race this week or if I race two weeks from now. Bone healing is completely subjective. It takes bone healing a year most times to be 100 percent, so how do you quantify how much more risk is there this week versus two weeks down the road or three weeks down the road or two months down the road, so that's the tough part of it -- everyone is erring on the cautious side because no one ultimately wants to be responsible and have their name on the line of clearing a driver and then he goes out and gets hurt."
Do you still feel like you can compete in a portion of the Talladega race?
"They all came to the conclusion they were happy with me starting Talladega and getting out when it's a safe time to get out. Ultimately, we even talked about doing that here at Richmond, but it's unfair to the team for me to get out and then go three or four laps down on pit road and really know that the team's not going to finish any better than 35th -- why would they even show up for that? So, I think it's better for them to at least have a chance to win with one full-time driver and we decided not to do that this weekend and we'll start our process at Talladega and then rescan again and try to go to Darlington."
Is there a possibility of surgery?
"We talked briefly about the injury that I deal with every day and that was not the main focus of our conversation, but I think that it is going to be a possibility in the off-season. If I get back to it in a timely fashion in the Cup Series this year then am still able to salvage some kind of season, then obviously it's not going to be an option until the off-season. So, either way, I'd like to get it fixed and get it over with."
At what point will you consider not returning this season?
"I think if this goes past Darlington then I don't know what the chances of us making the Chase are even if we were to race this weekend, race next weekend or the one after -- I don't know the chances. There's a lot of good teams that you have to beat to guarantee you're going to win the races. Obviously, if it goes past Darlington our chances are crushed even harder. Eventually you have to have a shut down point of not going out there and racing for nothing at a point. I think a recovery on the kind of surgery that I would like to have is about a month-and-a-half or so -- I could potentially come back maybe for the tail end of the year. It wouldn't be a season-ending -- I don't think anything would be season-ending I guess you could say. Eventually you have to know the point at which you're looking at improbabilities of making the Chase and just being smart about it. If everyone keeps getting these penalties, I'm going to be the points leader soon."Toyota PR)(4-26-2013)
Hamlin still waiting on clearance to race UPDATE - still out at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin's latest scan is done. Now he's waiting for doctors to read the results and arrive at a consensus of opinion as to whether he can race this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. "A doctor has seen a scan [Tuesday], but, obviously, there's a large team of doctors who have to have a consensus," Hamlin said Wednesday morning during a visit to the Grooming Lounge in downtown Washington. "Until all of them get the images, we're still waiting on that. They should have them this morning. "Hopefully, by the end of the day, everyone will have consensus and have time to review what's the safe thing to do." Whether he's approved to race at Richmond or not, Hamlin plans to start the race the following week at Talladega and then give way to a relief driver. He'll exit the car at Talladega at the first opportunity after riding in the back. "We do have an agreement, I believe, on starting next week and getting out, so at least we'll get some points starting next week," Hamlin said. "After that, I don't know. It just depends on what the doctors, the results of this (the scan) are and when they want to re-scan and check progression again.
Hamlin is leaning toward back surgery during the offseason -- or perhaps sooner if his prospects of making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup evaporate -- because the compression fracture exacerbated a problem with bulging disks that existed before the crash. The bulging disks are far more painful to the 32-year-old-driver than the compression fracture was. "(The accident) really screwed 'em up," Hamlin said. "I'm at the point now where, if they don't let me back in the car in a timely fashion, where I'm going to be racing for nothing for the rest of the year, I'd just as soon do it now and get it over with and come back next year strong and ready to go." (NASCAR Wire Service)(4-24-2013)
UPDATE: Hamlin tweeted Wednesday evening, "Unfortunately I won't be racing this weekend at Richmond. It kills me to not be in the car for my team and sponsors but after long discussions with the doctors we have decided to wait on my return back to racing. Thanks to all of my fans who have sent encouraging messages over the last month. I'll be back in no time."(4-24-2013)
Hamlin hopes to return at Richmond UPDATE: Injured #11-Denny Hamlin told ESPN.com on Saturday there is a 50-50 chance he'll return to his Sprint Cup car next weekend at Richmond. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver said it's almost 100% he will at least start the May 5 race at Talladega. Hamlin was expected to miss six weeks after suffering a compression fracture in his lower back on the last lap of the March 24 race at Auto Club Speedway. That would have put his scheduled return at the May 11 race at Darlington. But Hamlin said if the follow-up scan of the fracture that will take place either late Tuesday or early Wednesday shows bone growth he will be in the car at his home track in Richmond if doctors give him clearance. "If everything works out, and if the scan looks the way I feel we're going to be in good shape for Richmond,'' Hamlin said after the final practice for Sunday's race at Kansas. "I feel there's been growth there. I feel I've gotten stronger. Everything is a lot better. Last week, I would have said probably not. But this week I feel a lot better.'' Hamlin said there won't be another scan for two weeks after this week's. Even if he is not given clearance for Richmond, the plan is to start Talladega to collect driver points and give way to a backup driver after the first caution. Hamlin said there is no consideration for starting and then putting a backup driver in at Richmond because he would lose at least two laps making the exchange at the three-quarter mile track. Hamlin said he's been off pain medicine for a week and a half, so that won't be an issue with getting medical clearance. He is confident after looking at the crash data from Auto Club Speedway that it would be tough to duplicate what led to his injury.(full story at ESPN.com)(4-20-2013)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin tweeted Tuesday evening, "No update tonight guys."(4-23-2013)
Hamlin first JGR driver to miss a race because of injury: #11-Denny Hamlin is expected to miss at least five races while recovering from a compression fracture in his back. Hamlin amazingly will be the first Sprint Cup driver in the 21-year history of Joe Gibbs Racing to miss a race because of an injury.(Sporting News)(4-7-2013)
Hamlin released from hospital UPDATE 3 - out about 6 weeks: #11-Denny Hamlin spent the night at a local hospital in the Fontana, CA, area and was released on Monday to fly home to Charlotte, where Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates will evaluate him later in the week. Hamlin told reporters that it is too hard to say if he will be ready for the next Sprint Cup race as he walked out under his own power, according to one of his representatives. The Sprint Cup series has this weekend off, then resumes its schedule on April 7 at Martinsville Speedway. Dr. Petty declined to talk about Hamlin's case or compression fractions in general until he has met with Hamlin.(ESPN.com)(3-26-2013)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin walked out of Loma Linda University Medical Center on Monday night under his own power, one day after sustaining a fractured L1 vertebra in a crash at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin, wearing a thick back brace under a gray sweatshirt, had difficulty breathing as he spoke to two reporters, including one from USA TODAY Sports, upon his release. Hamlin said he immediately knew "I was in big trouble" after he felt a pop in his back following a violent collision with the wall the result of a crash triggered by contact with rival Joey Logano as the two raced for the win on the final lap. "The position I was in, I couldn't breathe at all," Hamlin said. "I'm still having a hard time breathing. Literally, when I felt a pop, I couldn't move at all and I knew I had to get flat to my back to be able to breathe again. That's why I rushed out and just laid flat on the ground to start breathing again." Hamlin, who was en route to fly home to North Carolina, said he had to be 100% straight no bending at all. Otherwise, he said, "I run out of breath." Though it's too early to tell whether Hamlin will miss any races, he seemed to understand there was a lengthy recovery in front of him. He tried to read up on the injury, he said, and nothing was very encouraging. Hamlin said he will meet with Dr. Jerry Petty near Charlotte on Wednesday or Thursday for further evaluation. "He's going to spend tomorrow looking at scans to distinguish what the next step is," Hamlin said. "We're kind of leaving the analyzing for him on what to do either surgery-wise or just stick with a brace and let it heal itself. Either way, obviously, both of them take a lot of time."(more at USA Today)
UPDATE2: Asked specifically Monday night if Logano had tried to call him, Hamlin said, "No. I've heard from pretty much all my peers which has been humbling to say the least. It makes me really happy and keeps your spirits up when you hear from all your peers and everything," he added. "That part of it has been very encouraging." So, does he view the incident as the product of hard racing or as a part of the rivalry between the two? "I think it's a little bit of both if I had to characterize it," he said. "I really went out of my way throughout the day to give the #22 (Logano) room in a lot of places. He raced me really hard for really the entire event and obviously other guys as well. But at the end I think he saw I was going to win and wasn't going to let that happen."(FoxSports)(3-26-2013)
UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin was evaluated today by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates after suffering an L1 Compression Fracture during an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Dr. Petty determined that Hamlin will not require surgery, but will need time to properly heal, which is estimated around six weeks time. Dr. Petty will make the determination when Hamlin will be able to return to racing this season. No decision has been made on a replacement driver for Hamlin during his absence from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-26-2013)
Logano says he wasn't trying to wreck Hamlin: #22-Joey Logano said he did not realize #11-Denny Hamlin was involved in a hard crash when he made televised comments suggesting the driver had it coming - nor did he mean to wreck his former teammate on the last lap of Sunday's Auto Club 400. Logano told USA TODAY Sports by phone Monday that he had "no idea" Hamlin was hurt or even that he hit the wall hard when he told Fox: "He probably shouldn't have done what he did last week (at Bristol), so that's what he gets."
"I just thought we were racing hard, you know?" Logano said Monday. "It happens. You don't ever want anyone to get hurt; you don't ever want anything to happen, especially to Denny. We were racing really hard there at the end of the race. I wish there was a SAFER barrier down there, and I wish I knew before I made any comments on TV also." Logano insisted he was not trying to wreck Hamlin "in any way, shape or form."(USA Today)(3-26-2013)
Hamlin injured in last lap wreck at Auto Club UPDATE2 & Statement: In a wild finish, #22-Joey Logano was leading the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway at the white flag and #11-Denny Hamlin was next to hm a few feet behind the #22. The two drivers raced hard and got into each other near turn 4, sending Logano into the outside wall and #11-Hamlin hard into the inside wall, which has no SAFER (for some reason). After climbing from the car under his own power, Hamlin laid down and was put on a stretcher and then an ambulance and taken to the infield care center. Hamlin was them taken by helicopter to a local hospital. #18 crew chew chief Dave Rogers was interviewed by SPEED's Kenny Wallace and said that he talked to team owner J.D. Gibbs and supposedly Hamlin has some back pain and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.(3-24-2013)
UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin was airlifted to a hospital after a hard single-car crash at the inside wall on the final lap of Sunday's Auto Club 400. Hamlin was awake and alert in the infield care center before being transported, but was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. A helicopter was used due to post-race traffic. Hamlin was helped from his car after the hard hit and seemed to collapse outside his car after he had pulled the window net down. He was taken by ambulance to the infield care center, where crew chief Darian Grubb hurried inside to check on the driver. Hamlin's girlfriend, Jordan Fish, tweeted Sunday night: "Thank u everyone for your messages concerning Denny. Darian is keeping us posted. He's alert n awake, main concern is his back.(USA Today)
JGR STATEMENT: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin was involved in an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin complained of lower back pain at the track's infield medical center and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Hamlin will remain at the hospital overnight for observation. No further updates are expected tonight.(JGR)
JGR STATEMENT 2: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin hopes to be released today to fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week.(JGR)(3-25-2013)
Win 200 for #11: #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Irwin Tools Night Race Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was car #11's 200th win in the Sprint Cup Series. This win is now 2 wins ahead of the iconic #43 for all-time wins in Sprint Cup Series history for a car number. Richard Petty, who drove the #43 for most of his 200 wins, actually won 192 races running the #43 and 8 in other car numbers [#41 & #42]. The car number in third is the car #3 with 97 wins.(8-25-2012)
Hamlin working on contract extension UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing could have a new Sprint Cup contract to announce within the next week, and it's not the driver everyone has been talking about. #11-Denny Hamlin is in final negotiations with JGR and sponsor FedEx on an extension of his deal, which runs through the 2013 season. "I think I'm up at the end of next year, but I know where my future is, and that's at Gibbs," Hamlin told USA Today Sports on Wednesday. "FedEx knows who they want driving their car. We typically try to do our deals together as a partnership, because that's what it is between the three of us. As long as FedEx likes me, I know I want to be with Gibbs. We're to all working together to solidify that for years to come. I think it'll be done within a week. Everything but the ink on the paper is pretty much done. Everything is pretty much locked in, and we know where we're going to be for the foreseeable future."(USA Today)(6-28-2012)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin tweeted Saturday evening, "IT'S OFFICIAL. I've signed an extension with @JoeGibbsRacing. Happy to know where my future is. Excited for tonight and beyond with my team."(6-30-2012)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 21, 2015, TBA pm/et
Born in NOVEMBER:
26 Dale Jarrett, Chip Bolin, Katie Pearson
27 Billy Standridge, Kate Dallenbach, Ricky Carmichael, Kaitlyn Punch
28 Chase Elliott, Billy Sutphin, Mitch Way, Nelson Stacy, Mason Mingus
29 Bob Dillner, Zach Brewer, Ryan Ellis, Tanner Berryhill
30 Danny Earnhardt, Dave Dion, Dick Hutcherson, Shawna Robinson, Chris Hussey, Andy Kirby, Brittany Glover
Born in DECEMBER:
1 Stanton Barrett Jr, Kenny Francis, David Evans, Danny Gill, Larry Gunselman
2 Erik Darnell, Kelly Kellis, Victoria Trickle
3 Bobby Allison, Cody Cook
4 Dean Johnson, Evelyn Andrews, Doug Keller
5 J.D. McDuffie, Jim Paschal, Jim Hurtubise
6 Stacey Witzke, Christian Elder
7 Geoff Smith, Paul Moore, Richmond Gage
8 Susan Adamczyk (sister), Garry Hill, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Kerry Earnhardt, Nadine Lubejko, Zachary Jarrett
9 Steve Richards, Coy Gibbs, Brad Teague, Lori Wetzel
10 Mike 'Jimbo' Barrientos, Makayla Ann McSwain, Jerry Honeycut
11 Frankie Adamczyk, Mariah Belber, Eric McClure, Chris Horn, Tony Eury Sr.
12 Ed Watkins, Rick Pennington, Emerson Fittipaldi
13 Army National Guard, Jim Vandiver, Jarrett Andretti, David Stover, Mark Nickels, Michael Mumford
14 NASCAR (meeting at Streamline Hotel), Alan Kulwicki, Hershel McGriff, Darrin Dykes, Steve Hmiel, Bob Tracey, Harry McMullen
15 Lance McGrew, Jeff Beck, Eli Gold
16 A.J. Allmendinger
17 Mike Beam, Dustin Long, Matt Martin, Montgomery Lee Petty, Bobby East
18 Ted Musgrave, Vic Irvan, Tom Polansky
19 Patty Moise, Paul Tracy, Sheldon Schrader, John Monsham
20 Erin Marco, Taylor Nicole Earnhardt, Kinsley Parsons
21 Michael McDowell, Travis Kittleson
22 David Pearson
23 Greg Biffle, Peter Sospenzo, Ray Dunlap, Chris Cook, Addison Frye
24 Fr. Steven Janoski, David Ragan, Krista Marie Allison, Mike Gooch
25 Jesus Christ, Charles Comstock, Randy Earnhardt, Jimmy Buffett, Starr Elliott, Butch Lamoreux, Curtis W. Key, Noel Schafer
26 Blair Makenzie Nemechek, Josh Mick
27 Mike Laughlin, Don Radebaugh
28 Nelson Stacy, Brittany Wallace, Joyce Kearns
29 Waddell Wilson, Boston Reid, Mike Bagley, Owen Kearns Jr., Jessica Stroupe
30 Fred Lorenzen, Donnie Mergard, Ryan Hemphill, Kole Kahne, Cooper Berrier
31 Beth Simons-Dykes, Dorthy Schrader, Riley Craven, Ryan Blaney, Joe Hicks, Benny Ertel