FedEx Express - orange:
Sprint Unlimited - 2/16
Daytona 500 - 2/24
Auto Club - 3/24
Talladega - 5/5
Charlotte - 5/18, All-Star race
Michigan - 6/16. Jason Leffler tribute
Indianapolis - 7/28
Richmond - 9/7
Homestead - 11/17
FedEx Office - blue:
Las Vegas - 3/10
Texas - 4/13, Vickers driving while Hamlin injured, March of Dimes scheme
Charlotte - 5/26
Kentucky - 6/29
Pocono - 8/4
Chicago - 9/15
Kansas - 10/6
Texas - 11/3
FedEx Freight - red:
Bristol - 3/17
Martinsville - 4/7, Martin driving while Hamlin injured
Kansas - 4/21, Vickers driving while Hamlin injured
Dover - 6/2, Autism Speaks scheme
Sonoma - 6/23
New Hampshire - 7/14
Michigan - 8/18
Dover - 9/29
Talladega - 10/20
FedEx Ground - green:
Phoenix - 3/3
Pocono - 6/9
Daytona - 7/6
Watkins Glen - 8/11
Bristol - 8/24
New Hampshire - 9/22
Charlotte - 10/12
Phoenix - 11/10
FedEx - 2005 scheme to honor Jason Leffler:
Michigan - 6/16
FedEx Delivery Manager:
Richmond - 4/27, Vickers driving while Hamlin injured
FedEx One Rate:
Martinsville - 10/27
Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2013 at:
Darlington - 5/11
Atlanta - 9/1
Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2014 at:
Darlington - 4/12
Atlanta - 8/31
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)
FedEx One Rate featured on the #11: Denny Hamlin will run a special #11 FedEx One Rate paint scheme in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in his return to the half-mile track after missing the spring race due to a back injury. The flat purple paint scheme helps celebrate FedEx One Rate, a new flat-rate shipping option for FedEx Express customers that was introduced earlier this week. Hamlin is making his 16th career Cup Series start at Martinsville this weekend, arguably the 32-year-old Virginia native's best track on the circuit, where he has recorded four wins and 12 top-10 finishes in 15 starts at the short, flat 'paper clip.'(FedEx Racing)see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(10-25-2013)
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)
Could Truex go to Gibbs? Will NAPA return? UPDATE: #56-Martin Truex, Jr., an innocent victim in this whole thing, is handling things with class. But he points out that he now has to look out for himself, and that means making some quick decisions about 2014. Immediately after NAPA's decision to pull the plug on the Waltrip-Truex team, there were hopes that NAPA, perhaps with Truex, might move to another stock car operation and continue its sports marketing here. NAPA is one of this sport's long-time sponsors. However Sunday here a man close to the situation said NAPA has now decided simply to drop out of NASCAR racing. If so, that could be a devastating blow; the sanctioning body itself just lost Nationwide as sponsor of its Triple-A tour (following the 2014 season). Where Truex might land, if he does move on? Well, Toyota's Joe Gibbs has been looking to fill a long-proposed fourth Cup team slot; Gibbs tried to get Kurt Busch earlier this year. And Richard Childress is still filling out his 2014 roster. Truex says simply "life moves on. I've moved on from it.(MikeMulhern.net)
BUT: According to a tweet by NASCAR.com's Kenny Bruce, "J.D. Gibbs did everything but rule out 4th Cup team for JGR. 'Going from 2 to 3 was so difficult. ... I don't see it.' ".
AND: Sporting News' Bob Pockrass reports, "Joe [Gibbs] said he's devoted to Toyota & MWR & supports them, said he has no idea what's happening and had no talks [about] 4th team w/NAPA-Truex"(9-23-2013)
UPDATE: Waltrip ... said that if Truex could find another deal, he wouldn't hold him back even though two years remain on his contract. Right now, there's only one other real deal out there — the Furniture Row Racing #78 car. That team is self-funded by Barney Visser, who owns the furniture chain. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said he was interested in Truex, and he likely could wait a while for Truex to make a decision. The organization likely would go with a young driver if not Truex, meaning all those drivers probably would be available well into November before having to make a commitment for 2014. The big "if" is whether NAPA will return and sponsor another Cup team. NAPA likes to have a car for the full season but several sources in the garage said the $16 million that NAPA is reportedly paying likely includes a hefty Chase bonus and might be too low to garner a full season with other organizations. Team owner Richard Childress said he wasn't going to call NAPA, but he could start a fourth team if there is interest. "You're always interested, but we're going to see what shakes down here with those guys," he said. "I hope NAPA stays in the sport. I really hate it for Martin. I'm sure they'll see the value in our sport and hopefully stay in with whomever. We're not going to beat their door down. We can do a fourth team. I don't believe in going out and chasing somebody in a bad situation. Let them make their decision."
Chip Ganassi had no comment on the possibility of pursuing Truex, while Roger Penske said he is set with his two Cup teams for next year. "Martin's one of the good young drivers here," Penske said. "We're committed (to) two cars next year. We have plenty of drivers. What we need to do is stay focused. … At this point, I don't see us going with Truex or NAPA."(Sporting News)(9-23-2013)
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 sprained hand in Bristol accident: #56-Martin Truex Jr. wasn't the only NASCAR driver to injure his hand during a multi-car crash at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend. #11-Denny Hamlin told Sirius/XM's Dialed In show that he caught his right hand in the steering wheel and hurt it in the same wreck that broke Truex's wrist with 52 laps to go. Hamlin said he's currently wearing a splint on his thumb, which is black and blue, but expected the injury to heal within two weeks. "I couldn't get my finger out of the wheel quick enough before it spun, and it obviously took some ligaments with it," Hamlin said. "I feel this pain, and it's going to be tough. I tested on Monday and Tuesday at Chicago, and I couldn't put my thumb on the wheel." Joe Gibbs Racing spokesman Chris Helein says Hamlin's hand is "just sprained" and is unsure whether Hamlin will wear a splint during the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night.(USA Today)(8-30-2013)
Sport Clips on the #11 at Atlanta: For the second and final time this season, Sport Clips will adorn the #11 Toyota Camry piloted by Denny Hamlin in the Sprint Cup Series for the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last season, with Sport Clips on board, Hamlin secured the seventh starting position for the Advocare 500, led a total of 105 laps and earned his first-career win at the 1.54-mile Atlanta –based track.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(8-29-2013)
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 calls Kyle Petty a moron: Add #11-Denny Hamlin to the list of Sprint Cup drivers not happy with television analyst and former driver Kyle Petty. Petty suggested during Sunday's RaceDay show on Fox Sports "SPEED" that Hamlin should end his 2013 season and focus on healing his lower back that was injured during an early season crash at Auto Club Speedway in California. He also said Hamlin suggested he was the face of Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin lashed out on Twitter, saying the son of Hall of Famer Richard Petty "is a moron.''
He continued to take shots at Petty after hitting the wall to end his day early at Pocono Raceway. "He's an analyst, but not a very informative one because he doesn't know anything,'' Hamlin said. "My beef with Kyle is he has a lot of opinions about a lot of drivers, but he never once talked to any of them. To be an analyst you've got to be in the trenches to find out the stories.''
Asked what Petty said that upset him, Hamlin said, "It's just saying I thought I was the face of JGR. What I really said was I was the face of [primary sponsor] FedEx and the #11 team."(ESPN)(8-5-20130)
UPDATE: Kyle Petty, the driver-turned-analyst with the unfiltered opinions, has angered someone new. Petty didn't mean to make Denny Hamlin mad with his televised comments before Sunday's race at Pocono. Turns out, Hamlin had every right to be upset. Petty admitted on Monday he had misinterpreted previous statements made by Hamlin, and the opinion Petty presented pre-race about Hamlin was incorrect. "If you are going to run your mouth, if you are going to dish it out, you gotta take it, and the bone of contention here is that Denny is 100 percent right," Petty said. "I can take it, I can say that I'm wrong and that I misinterpreted what Denny said." Petty would have reached out to Hamlin or apologized for making a mistake, but then came the "moron" tweet. "Denny's argument was a typical Twitter argument, he calls me a moron and then he goes personal," Petty said. "So I'm just not going to acknowledge it."(Associated Press)(8-6-2013)
Hamlin has no plans to cut back racing sched: There are days when Denny Hamlin's back hurts so much he can hardly move. When he wakes up in the morning, it sometimes takes four hours before he can stand up straight and feel stable. His persistent back pain, caused by bulging discs, only got worse when he fractured a vertebra in the March race at Southern California's Auto Club Speedway. He needs surgery to fix the bulging discs, and some observers have called for Hamlin to give up on his longshot Chase hopes and have the procedure done now to make sure he has enough time to heal before 2014. But Hamlin told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday he plans to "tough it out" for the rest of the year. "It's tough because there are no backups in our sport," he said while relaxing in his motorhome before qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I'm the face of our team — the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) team, FedEx, everyone — so you can't just insert another player for the rest of the year and have no one know the difference. You know, I've got to do whatever I've got to do to just get through the season, honestly. And then I can figure out what I can do to (feel) better next year. But right now, we're just in a mode of trying to finish races."(USA Today)(7-28-2013)
Sixteen Cup teams found with modified roof flap spacers UPDATE: Sixteen teams found to have modified roof flap spacers (lighter) during NASCAR inspection. Teams listed: #1-McMurray, #2-Keselowski, #9-Ambrose, #11-Hamlin, #13-Mears, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #21-Bayne, #22-Logano, #43-Almirola, #55-Waltrip, #56-Truex Jr. and #99-Edwards. The modified/confiscated roof-flap spacers are on display at Daytona in the NASCAR hauler. NASCAR's Kerry Tharp addressed media on confiscated roof-flap spacers - "Spacers not in compliance with those kits." The roof-flap kits are supplied to teams for #NASCAR by one company (a Roush company) and are not to be changed.(SPEED's, Dustin Long Fox/NASCAR on Twitter)
AND Thirty-one cars, including 16 in the Sprint Cup Series, failed inspection before Thursday's practices at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR confiscated the teams' roof flaps, which are designed to keep cars on the ground during spins and wrecks at high speeds, for further inspection. Penalties could be possible. The roof-flap spacers had been illegally machined down to reduce weight. NASCAR inspectors made those Cup teams install new, unaltered roof flaps before drivers were allowed on the track for the first of two practices. Inspectors then went to the Nationwide garage and found similar issues on 15 cars. "When you find something in one garage, you communicate to the other garage," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We looked into it and this is what we found."(Associated Press)(7-4-2013)
UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams expect widespread penalties after 16 cars were found with illegal roof-flap spacers at Daytona Thursday, but they don't know how severe those penalties might be. The teams caught scrambled Thursday to make compliant spacers, which are used to attach the hinge of the roof flaps. Teams and manufacturers get roof flaps from Roush Composites and, according to the NASCAR rulebook, "the hinged air deflectors must be installed as specified in the instruction sheet supplied with the hinged air deflector kit." But it was apparent that many teams had lightened the spacers or changed them. It wasn't clear what tipped off NASCAR inspectors to the violations, but after a sweep of the Sprint Cup garage Thursday, NASCAR went through the Nationwide garage and took pieces from 15 Nationwide teams Thursday night. A non-compliant part might just be a monetary penalty but because it dealt with a safety piece — the roof flaps pop up during a spin to try to keep the car on the ground — a points penalty is definitely possible, as well as crew suspensions. NASCAR traditionally issues penalties the Tuesday after a race weekend. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said the widespread use of the illegal spacers most likely indicates that those pieces had gotten through inspection previously. "It's probably not something that was on a normal inspection routine," Pemberton said. "The teams are told that they must assemble all that stuff using all the parts that's in the kit. Once in a while you'll find things like that and it's probably something that teams have probably done a little bit in the past." Whether the number of teams involved will impact the penalties and whether crew chiefs who are on probation will face more severe penalties will be determined Monday and Tuesday, Pemberton said. Because teams didn't have extra kits at Daytona, NASCAR allowed the teams to make spacers that were compliant.(Sporting News)(7-5-2013)
Hamlin says back is fine, plans to run full season UPDATE: When #11-Denny Hamlin clobbered the Turn 4 wall at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, the first thought of most who watched had to be, "Oh, no, not the back." Fortunately, there was no basis for concern for the driver who had missed four races earlier this season because of a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra. The impact on Lap 147 of the Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was severe, and Hamlin was shaken up, but his back was fine.
Team owner Joe Gibbs visited Hamlin in the infield care center after the wreck. Hamlin was released shortly thereafter. "I think our cars are so safe, and to show you, in 22 years, we've only had one person miss a race, and that was Denny, when he had the problem earlier this year," Gibbs told the NASCAR Wire Service. "So to be quite truthful, I didn't see it, so I was just going back, and I didn't realize he hit that hard. And so when I got back there (to the garage), he said, 'Man, I've got a headache, like you wouldn't believe.' And he banged his knee on the inside (of the car). Then we went to the care center, and right away, he said, "I started feeling better and better and better." On Monday, Hamlin plans to go ahead with a scheduled test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "They called the doctor over there, he's going to take a look at him before he gets in the car, but I think we are in good shape there," Gibbs said.(NASCAR Wire Service)
AND from a Toyota Racing transcript:
Q) Do you plan to continue with the rest of the season?
Hamlin: "Definitely have to proceed on. I have a test in Indy tomorrow that we're going to do to try to get better and get to performing better. Really today it was the best performance for us in a while. Hopefully at least something to build off of even though we don't have a good finish."
Q) Will you still contend to make the Chase?
Hamlin: "I felt pretty good about the way we were racing today. We were with the right track position, we could run with everybody except for maybe the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We're just going to try to win races and that's what my job is for the rest of the year is to try to win and do the best I can for my sponsors and my team. Really the biggest thing I was pushing for was to get my team into the Chase. Had an opportunity owner's points-wise to get into the Chase and this is obviously another hit."
Q) How hard was the hit?
Hamlin: "It's very similar to Kansas of last year during the test day of the race weekend. Flat right side hit, especially, you are picking up a lot of speed off of (turn) four here. For me, it didn't go down slowly like the tire did the first time -- this one just blew out solid and quick. Obviously, when I lost steering I hit flat. I would rather hit head-on anywhere than flat up against the wall on these walls."(Toyoya Racing)(7-1-2013)
UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin was cleared Monday by doctors who performed tests to see whether the Joe Gibbs Racing driver suffered a concussion in Sunday's crash at Kentucky Speedway. He saw doctors in Indianapolis on Monday morning before a scheduled two-day test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. JGR officials said the driver was cleared for that and to race in Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway.(ESPN)(7-1-2013)
Paint Scheme change on the #11 at MIS to honor Leffler: Joe Gibbs Racing has changed the paint scheme of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota for the Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. Denny Hamlin will run the original FedEx paint scheme from the 2005 season as they pay tribute to the late Jason Leffler who ran the car for 19 races that season (Denny Hamlin Facebook), see images of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(6-16-2013)
Keselowski says rivals stole Ford employees, information: #2-Brad Keselowski met with Ford Motor Co. employees in Dearborn on Thursday and signed autographs and answered questions. The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion also found time to chat with reporters and take a sharp jab at Chevrolet-backed Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, which runs Toyotas. Keselowski criticized Hendrick and Gibbs for "stealing away" employees and information from Ford Cup teams, including his own Penske Racing outfit and Roush Fenway Racing. Keselowski didn't mince words about Hendrick and Gibbs' recruitment techniques when he was asked by the media about the recent efforts of Ford teams like Penske and Roush coming together and sharing information. "There are little things you can do," Keselowski said of Ford-backed teams opening up lines of communication in an effort to improve performances on the track. "What keeps it from going too far is the fact that Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to other teams and outbidding other people and taking those employees and stealing our information, and, when that happens, that puts walls up between the camps because you are giving up more than one piece of information — you are giving up two companies' information and trying to protect yourself against that, it forces you to put up walls.It doesn't necessarily lend itself to working together. But still, we are going to put in a valiant effort where we can and where it makes sense to put Ford in a position to have the best results possible."Keselowski cited two incidents where he claimed Hendrick and Gibbs — who between them run the likes of series points leader and five-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. — lured away Ford team employees with big offers."Gibbs stole the Roush aero director and took all the information," said Keselowski. "And Hendricks took three employees from our Chase-winning team last year."(USA Today)(6-14-2013)
GIBBS STATEMENT: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) released the following statement from Owner Joe Gibbs in response to the recent comments made by driver Brad Keselowski: "We were surprised to read the recent comments and accusations made by Brad Keselowski. Clearly those comments are misguided and irresponsible. Brad's candor is well documented, but he would do well to only speak to subjects on which he is properly informed. Obviously NASCAR is a very competitive environment and we take our hiring processes seriously at JGR. The individual he referenced in his comments was working outside of the sport of NASCAR at the time we hired him. We have a great deal of respect for Roger Penske and his organization and I feel like I have always had a good personal relationship with Roger. We look forward to competing with Brad on the racetrack, but hope that he will use better judgment in the future before making such misinformed claims and accusations."(JGR)
HENDRICK STATEMENT: HMS owner Rick Hendrick also took offense to what Keselowski said. "The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed,'' Hendrick said. "The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up. We also brought over one mechanic from their Nationwide program and, when the Penske engine shop was closing, added a few of those people. What Brad left out was that his organization also hired one of our tire changers. All of this was above board and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger [Penske] would say the same. Brad misrepresents the facts and spends a lot of time making insinuations and accusations about other teams when he should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level. I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class."(ESPN)(6-15-2013)
Hamlin says Pocono has changed with repave: Denny Hamlin says the recent repaving of the 2.5-mile triangular track, where the Cup series races next week and Aug. 4, has taken away the edge he had there. "We had a leg up… we had two legs up on everyone when we went there with the old pavement," Hamlin said. "I think now we're better than average, but we're not the best anymore at that track. But it's definitely a place that we have performed well. Even after it got paved we still performed pretty well. Yeah, it is a track I look forward to ... Really, for me, I think that when they changed the track and they paved it, it changed everything. It really was like a whole new race track. Same with Kansas and Michigan -- all of these tracks, as soon as they pave them, they took one track and they just really threw it out and you've got a whole other surface, new setups, new way of driving style every single time. I think that's the challenge for us. We've got to really learn that race track again." Because passing is more difficult on the new Pocono surface, track position will be crucial. That may be good news for Hamlin, who will be trying for his third straight Sprint Cup pole next weekend at the Tricky Triangle.(NASCAR Wire Service)(6-2-2013)
Hamlin plans to be more aggressive to make Chase: From Hamlin's media availability Friday at Dover:
Q: Will you race more aggressively to try to make the Chase?
Hamlin: "I think our only play is to be aggressive. I think that to come here and try to get a good points day is irrelevant because if we don't win then we're really not accomplishing much. Obviously, we still have to get inside the top-20, but I think we can do that over the course of the next 13 or 14 weeks. We're going to need to win races so we're going to do everything we can to try to get that. I'll be as aggressive as I can so I'm treating this as more of an offensive race than a defensive one for sure."
q: Do you and the team feel pressure to be perfect and win races?
Hamlin: "I think we're treating it as if it is Chase scenarios right now. I'm driving like it or even more aggressive than I would be if I was in the Chase. We're going to have to capitalize on our money tracks. We're going to have to win at those race tracks and sneak a few in here and there when we don't expect it. We're doing everything we can and if we come up short then we come up short, there's nothing we're going to be able to do about it. Right now I feel pretty good about where Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole is -- we're competitive, a little bit off on speed from my teammate, which I have to go to work on. I feel good about where we're at and we just need to win everything we can."(Toyota Racing PR)(6-1-2013)
Special scheme for the #11 at Dover: FedEx will be supporting Autism Speaks with a special paint scheme on the #11 FedEx Toyota of Denny Hamlin this Sunday in the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.(FedEx Facebook), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(5-28-2013)
Hamlin plans to run full race at Darlington: After running just 24 laps last week at Talladega, #11-Denny Hamlin says he is fully healed and prepared to run the full 500 miles Saturday night at Darlington Raceway. Hamlin missed four Sprint Cup races and only started the race last week at Talladega after suffering a compression fracture in his lower back in a March 24 crash at Auto Club Speedway. He tweeted Wednesday, however, that he has been fully cleared by his doctors and plans to run the full race in Saturday's Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington, a race that he won in 2010. Hamlin tweeted: "More good news after this weeks scan. Healing is going really good and I'm ready to go the distance this week. #makethechase"(Sporting News)(5-10-2013)
Sport Clips sponsoring Hamlin at Darlington: This weekend Denny Hamlin will return to the #11 Sport Clips Toyota for his first full race since being sidelined after a late-race accident at Auto Club on March 24. Denny Hamlin will make his eighth Sprint Cup Series start at the track 'Too Tough Too Tame' on Saturday night when he climbs back into the #11 Sport Clips Toyota. Last year Hamlin finished second in the Bojangles' 500 driving a retro Sport Clips paint scheme honoring Cale Yarborough and his induction in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This year Hamlin is back looking to finish one position stronger and earn his first win of the 2013 season for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(5-10-2013)
Orchestrated exit nets Hamlin 10 extra points: The driver change planned and practiced by Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers worked to perfection. An opportune caution flag flew on Lap 23 of Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Speedway when fluid gushed out of Trevor Bayne's Ford and oiled the track. Hamlin, Vickers and the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing crew were ready. Recovering from a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra sustained during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway in late March, Hamlin received medical clearance to race at Talladega but planned to exit the car during the first caution. On Lap 25 he brought the car to pit road where Vickers waited. Hamlin unbuckled his belts, disconnected the radio and popped out of a roof hatch in #11 FedEx Toyota as Vickers began to climb in the driver's-side window. The crew buckled Vickers in and connected the radio. Vickers exited the pit stall less than a minute after Hamlin got there and had no difficulty staying on the lead lap. "The exchange went great," Hamlin said. "Really, that was about as smooth as it's went for us. Obviously, we've had a few repetitions at it. That was about the quickest that I was able to get out so everything went well. I had a checklist in the car with things that I needed to do before I got out to switch over for the next driver. Everything really went seamless and painless." Unfortunately for Hamlin and Vickers, the afternoon didn't continue that smoothly. On Lap 43, Vickers was an innocent victim of a 16-car wreck ignited by Kyle Busch's tap of Kasey Kahne's Chevrolet. The Hamlin/Vickers collaboration finished 34th, but by virtue of starting the race, Hamlin scored 10 championship points he otherwise wouldn't have had.(NASCAR Wire Service)(5-6-2013)
Hamlin discusses injury, plans for Sunday: #11-Denny Hamlin, cleared Thursday to race at Talladega, talked to the media on Friday at Talladege Superspeedway after practicing 16 laps in the #11 FedEx Toyota. A few comments from Hamlin about his back injury and return to the track:
Q) How did it feel to be back in the car in practice today?
Hamlin: "Obviously it's really good to get back and run some speed and get somewhat adrenaline pumping again. I'm thankful for everything Brian (Vickers) has done over these last four weeks and what he's going to do this weekend. We appreciate that and FedEx for sticking through it with us and obviously showing us a lot of support. So, it's definitely good to be back in a car and really just starting with hopefully what will be a good run in these next 17 weeks."
Q) Is it physically painful to be in the car on the race track?
Hamlin: "No, there's no discomfort inside the car at all. Really, for me, the most discomfort I have is getting out of the car. That's why we're choosing to go through the roof versus the window. It's much easier on me, and really any kind of twisting we can keep out of myself will be good. Really, inside the race car I feel just like I did six, seven weeks ago."
Q) Was it hard physically to get out of the race car?
Hamlin:"No, it took us one minute and six seconds twice in a row, so I think that we're going to be plenty good if a caution comes out to come out and preserve a lap."
Q) Are you concerned there may be an early accident that you could get involved in?
Hamlin: "As far as the first lap, early-on wreck it definitely can happen. We've seen it here at this race track on lap one and we've seen it on the last lap. I'm obviously going to put myself in what I believe is a safe position. Obviously you can't help things like blown tires or whatever that could possibly happen, but like I said I think the equivalency of our risks this weekend will be taking a knee."
Q) Are you definitely getting out of the car on Sunday?
Hamlin:"Yeah, I would say that's probably the most -- there's going to be a caution at some point and I'd like to get out to just insure myself of one more week of healing versus trying to come back in the middle of round six."
Q) Is there any risk that you could have a career-ending injury in an accident?
Hamlin: "I have to be careful with the answer of this. There's going to be risks. There is risk. There is risk until -- I don't know the exact science and no one knows the exact percentages. Nobody knows and that's what makes this really, really hard. With bone healing, it doesn't matter if you break your arm, you break your leg or whatever, a bone takes a year to heal. That's realistic. But, as far as I've been told and I understand it would take such a significant hit that you probably would be injured from it even if you were 100 percent healthy as far as I understand. So, it's very hard. I've got to let the doctors speak for that a little bit more than me because I don't know the risks exactly and neither do they. We're just trying to buy myself another week obviously until Darlington, but the risk is so minimal that it's almost not even there."
Q) Do you feel like you will have to be more careful in the race car with your injury?
Hamlin: "Not really. When I was in the car in practice you would think when you're coming back -- I know with my ACL I was cognizant the first time I actually went running again for the first time. Just trying to be -- I was scared of it. This is a little bit different because my symptoms from this went away after one week. I felt no back pain in the fractured area. For me, I'm only being limited on what I do -- the twisting, the jumping, the running, all of that -- just because I'm told to and not because I'm scared or fearful of it. It never even crossed my mind in the car so I think it's really a non-issue going forward."
Q) Why are you getting rescanned next week?
Hamlin: "It was scheduled. It's been on the schedule. I mentioned even through media that after Talladega we were going to get scanned once again."
Q) Have you practiced the driver swap with Brian Vickers?
Hamlin: "I think it's three minutes or high twos or something like that that you will lose a lap. But it took us right at one minute every time that we rehearsed it, so we're going to be plenty fine there. Everything is pretty seamless."(in part from a Toyota Racing Transcript)(5-4-2013)
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)
Special scheme for the #11 at Richmond: Brian Vickers will drive a special #11 FedEx Delivery Manager Toyota in Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). FedEx Delivery Manager, which launched earlier this week, provides delivery options for FedEx residential package recipients to fit their schedule. It offers personalized options that allow customers to request how, when and where they want their packages delivered. FedEx Delivery Manager can be used online, through mobile browsers and with the FedEx app.(FedEx Racing), see an image of the car on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-27-2013)
Hamlin dicusses 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)
Kenseth to sub for Hamlin at Short Track Showdown: #11-Denny Hamlin has a substitute driver for his April 25 Short Track Showdown charity race at Richmond: his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate #20-Matt Kenseth. Kenseth will drive a Late Model in Hamlin's place for the annual event that pits NASCAR drivers against some top local short-track talent. "Obviously, it kills me to not be able to race in the Short Track Showdown," Hamlin said. "I grew up racing these cars against some of the best in the area, and it's always fun to come back and do it again, but my injury won't allow that this year."(USA Today), for more info, see Jayski's NASCAR Charities page.(4-11-2013)
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)
Vickers' understands Hamlin's situation: In picking Brian Vickers to substitute for Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing got a driver who can empathize with what Hamlin is feeling while he waits to return to his car. Vickers will start a stint of indeterminate length in the # 11 Toyota next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, as Hamlin continues to recover from a compression fracture. Driving the # 11 Camry is an important opportunity for Vickers, who is running a nine-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing, including Sunday's STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway. But Vickers has mixed feelings about the circumstances that will put him behind the wheel of Hamlin's car. Much of Vickers' ambivalence stems from a medical condition that forced him out of his ride at Red Bull Racing in 2011. Suffering from blood clots in his legs and lungs, Vickers missed the last six months of the season while he recuperated. "Next week I'm going to be in the 11 car, which I'm obviously excited about, but sad how the opportunity came about," Vickers said Friday morning at Martinsville. "I know what it's like to be pulled out of your car for health reasons -- I've been in that boat before and wish Denny a speedy recovery.(NASCAR Wire Service)(4-6-2013)
Hamlin will go to Martinsville; hopes to return at Richmond: Showing minimal aftereffects of the crash that has sidelined him in Sprint Cup, Denny Hamlin was in good spirits and solid stature Wednesday at Joe Gibbs Racing. He smiled broadly while holding his 2-month-old daughter, Taylor. He joked with reporters. He seemed relatively ambulatory while walking around the shop wearing a back brace beneath his black FedEx polo shirt. But his discontent with Logano hasn't.
"I don't blame him for the particular injury," Hamlin said in his first extensive interview since returning home last week from an overnight hospital stay. "I do for the wreck. The injury was circumstantial. A wreck on a 2-mile speedway, you risk getting hurt. That frustrates me the most. Listening to him say, 'I'm sure Denny's fine, these cars are safe.' That really gets to me because he's taking for granted no matter how hard you wreck, you're going to be fine.
[Hamlin] is hopeful of returning by the April 27 race at Richmond International Raceway, which would be two races earlier than the original prognosis of a six-week recovery. But the return will be dictated by doctors, who aren't expected to scan his back to assess his progress for at least another two to three weeks. That won't keep him Sunday from Martinsville Speedway, where he is planning to be on the pit box watching Mark Martin pilot his #11 Toyota.
Hamlin, though, doesn't think NASCAR should take any punitive action [against Logano] because of the "self-policing" philosophies often employed by drivers. Tony Stewart went after Logano after the Fontana race because he was unhappy with a blocking maneuver and vowed to retaliate. See much more at USA Today.(4-4-2013)
Sadler expected to fill in for Hamlin? Martin? UPDATES - Martin, then Vickers: Elliott Sadler has been chosen as the primary sub for Denny Hamlin. All that's preventing an official announcement, as of Wednesday morning is a few details to work out with sponsor Fed Ex. Sadler, who was long pegged as the likely choice is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series and was scheduled to drive a fourth Cup car in a limited schedule later this season. There are no conflicts on the Nationwide schedule that would affect Sadler until early June.(Frontstretch)(3-27-2013)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing said Thursday morning that they were not prepared to announce a replacement driver for Denny Hamlin yet. The Associated Press' Jenny Fryer tweeted, "the word on the street is [Mark Martin] is in play for #11 in a straight swap with [Michael Waltrip Racing] for [Brian Vickers], except Talladega."(3-28-2013)
UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing is looking at several driver scenarios, including fellow Toyota driver Mark Martin, to replace Denny Hamlin while he recovers from a back injury. Multiple sources told ESPN.com that one scenario that JGR has considered is Martin driving all five races in the # 11 car while Hamlin is out. Brian Vickers would pick up Martin's schedule in the Michael Waltrip Racing # 55 that includes Texas, Kansas and Richmond. Michael Waltrip is in the #55 at Talladega. Another scenario, according to sources, is that Vickers would pick up Hamlin's schedule for four races after next week at Martinsville, where he is scheduled to drive the # 55 for Martin. Martin or Elliott Sadler would drive at Martinsville. Sources said another scenario would have Sadler drive for Hamlin the entire way, although that is the most unlikely option. Both Vickers and Sadler drive a full-time Nationwide Series schedule for JGR. Gibbs said for the sake of continuity, he would prefer to go with one driver versus multiple drivers. MWR, according to sources, would like to keep Vickers in the 55 for as much as possible because he is the likely replacement for Martin next season.(ESPN)(3-28-2013)
UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Mark Martin will drive the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series while Denny Hamlin recovers from an L1 Compression Fracture suffered during an accident on March 24 at Auto Club Speedway. "We've been real fortunate to have never been in this situation with the need to find someone to fill in for an injured driver," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "A lot goes into a decision like this but we are really pleased to have someone of the character and caliber of Mark Martin to fill in while Denny is out. Obviously we're not exactly sure how long that is going to take, but Mark's career speaks for itself and our team knows it will have the opportunity to compete for a win every week." Martin will make his first start for JGR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 7. Martin has made one previous appearance for JGR when he started in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and finished second. "I'm happy to have this opportunity to help out JGR, FedEx and Denny," said Martin. "Hopefully I can keep those guys up front and compete for wins while Denny heals up."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-28-2013)
UPDATE 4: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Mark Martin will fill in for injured Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin in the #11 Toyota Camry next weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Martin will return to the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13 and resume his previously scheduled run of events with MWR for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint cup season. As previously announced, Brian Vickers will race MWR's #55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry for MWR at Martinsville.(MWR)(3-29-2013)
UPDATE 5: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Brian Vickers will take over behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for the injured Denny Hamlin starting on April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was previously released that Mark Martin would handle the duties behind the wheel for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team while Denny Hamlin recovered from injury. Martin will drive the car in Martinsville, but Vickers will now take over the duties beginning in Texas. "Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in and when you start a process like this you obviously begin to look at the drivers that are not only available but also able to drive for your race team and manufacturer. We were a bit premature in determining Mark's status past Martinsville however," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial.(JGR)(3-29-2013)
UPDATE 6: Rumors of Mark Martin's substitute role have been greatly exaggerated. It will now last only one race, after a series of conflicting announcements. Joe Gibbs Racing originally reported on Thursday that Martin would be competing for Denny Hamlin while Hamlin recuperates from a lower-back compression fracture, suffered during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. The sub-headline that read, "Veteran NASCAR Driver Mark Martin to Drive No. 11 FedEx Toyota Until Hamlin Returns" indicated that the affable 54-year-old veteran would sub throughout Hamlin's recovery. But apparently the deal was not cleared by Aaron's, which is sponsoring Martin in the #55 this season and has enjoyed a relationship with Michael Waltrip since 2000.(Fox Sports)(3-30-2013)
Vickers expected to pick up Martin's races at MWR: Michael Waltrip Racing didn't announce who will drive Martin's #55 Toyota in his absence, but it will most likely be [Brian] Vickers, who was slotted to drive nine of Martin's races this year. The team is believed to be considering Vickers as Martin's potential replacement, and this would give MWR a lengthier preview. Thursday [J.D.] Gibbs said his preference was to use just one driver in the #11 while Hamlin is sidelined. The organization has Elliott Sadler and Vickers running Nationwide Series cars, but neither was totally free of commitments to drive Hamlin's Cup car. Vickers had the Martinsville conflict and Sadler has a deal with sponsorship to run a fourth JGR car at Kansas and Talladega.(Associated Press)(3-29-2013)
Can Hamlin still make the Chase? Yes. And it might not be as difficult as it appears. Hamlin is expected to miss the next five races recovering from a compression fracture in his lower back. He had 180 points during that span a year ago, which is a ton for one of only two drivers --#48- Jimmie Johnson is the other -- to have never missed NASCAR's 10-race playoff. It basically ends any chance he has of automatically qualifying in the top 10.
But earning one of the two wild-card berths, given to the drivers with the most wins inside the top 20, isn't a reach at all. A year ago, Jamie McMurray was 20th in the standings with 640 points when the Chase was set after 26 races. Hamlin, now 10th in the standings, has 145 points. Hamlin would need approximately 495 points -- and one or two wins -- over the 16 races before the September Richmond race to be in position for the top 20 under 2012 standards. To do that he would need an average of 30.9 points per race, or an average finish of around 13th. Throw in bonus points for a few wins in which he leads the most laps for a maximum 48 points and his average finish could be slightly higher. A year ago, Hamlin's average finish was only 14.1 from race 11 to 26. But he won at Bristol and Atlanta and accumulated 499 points, three more than he would have needed to get into the Chase. Based on what 20th place has done so far this year Hamlin may have even more leeway. Ryan Newman is in the bubble slot with 121 points, an average finish of 24.2. Average that out over 26 races and the total is only 629.(ESPN)(3-28-2013)
Sadler expected to fill in for Hamlin: Elliott Sadler has been chosen as the primary sub for Denny Hamlin. All that's preventing an official announcement, as of Wednesday morning is a few details to work out with sponsor Fed Ex. Sadler, who was long pegged as the likely choice is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series and was scheduled to drive a fourth Cup car in a limited schedule later this season. There are no conflicts on the Nationwide schedule that would affect Sadler until early June.(Frontstretch)(3-27-2013)
France takes responsibility for decision to fine Hamlin: [NASCAR CEO Brian] France has been busier than usual to start the season. He met with reigning champion Brad Keselowski in late February to discuss questionable comments the Penske Racing driver made in a newspaper article. Then came a suspension of Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements for using a racial slur in front of an MTV reporter, followed by a $25,000 fine to Hamlin for criticizing the new Gen-6 car and the quality of racing at Phoenix. France acknowledged it was primarily his decision to penalize Hamlin, and he stood by that decision. "There's always going to be, when we make decisions that are not black and white per se, we're always going to have people all over the organization that may not have made that call," France said. "But I did. I'm crystal clear with everybody about where the line is, what we can accept, and about how the sport is going today. And that is we give more latitude than any professional sport to criticize, speak their mind and say whatever they want. We encourage it, actually, including criticism that gets directed at us. But when the driver . . . begins to call out the quality of the racing or the rules packages, we have to make that call or opinions will shape what may not be reality." France met with Hamlin, who dropped his right to appeal the fine, and believes they are on the same page now.(ESPN)(3-27-2013)
Hamlin released from hospital UPDATE 3 - out about 6 weeks: #11-Denny Hamlin spent the night at a local hospital in the Fontana, Calif., 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)
Penske defends Logano: Team owner Roger Penske staunchly defended #22-Joey Logano after his Sprint Cup driver was involved in a pair of controversies near the end of Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway. "I'm 150% behind my driver, and I think he's a real star on the team," Penske told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Sunday night after returning to his home in Michigan. Logano wrecked with Denny Hamlin while racing for the lead in a final-lap incident that sent Hamlin to the hospital for overnight observation after his #11 Toyota sustained heavy right-front impact with an inside wall not covered by a SAFER barrier. Tony Stewart confronted Logano after the race because he was upset with being blocked on the bottom lane in the closing laps. "It's time he learns a lesson," Stewart said. "He's run his mouth long enough and done this double standard, but he's nothing but a little rich kid who has never had to work in his life." Racing for the lead on a restart with 10 laps remaining, Stewart felt that Logano blocked him low, forcing Stewart's Chevrolet all the way to the inside apron. The momentum shift ended up thwarting what looked to be Stewart's best finish of the season, and after drifting back, Stewart finished all the way back in 22nd place. "He has that right, he has the choice to do that. If he ever turns down across in front of me again, I don't care what lap it is, he won't make it through the other end of it," Stewart said.(USA Today))(3-25-2013)
Hamlin apologizes for Logano bump: #11- Denny Hamlin apologized on Friday for making two mistakes involving former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate #22-Joey Logano last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The first mistake was bumping Logano too hard on lap 349 in retaliation for the way the Penske Racing driver raced him earlier. The bump sent Logano into a spin when he was battling Jeff Gordon for the lead and ruined any chance he had of contending for the victory. The second was for attacking Logano personally after a post-race shoving match between the crews that began when Logano approached Hamlin at his car. On the first mistake, Hamlin said he was trying to send Logano a message with a tap after Logano pinched down on him too hard earlier. "I felt bad, and really if you could watch my in-car camera you could see how frustrated I was to see he had damage to his car,'' Hamlin said before the first practice at Auto Club Speedway. "I banged the steering wheel because I was, 'Man, I didn't mean to do that.' '' Hamlin said that gave the impression he was trying to "bully'' Logano, which he was not. Then came what Hamlin called "the big mistake.''
"At the end of the race I shouldn't have degraded him as a driver,'' he said. "It's not my job to say who's good or bad in our sport. That part probably should have been left out.'' Hamlin and Logano haven't communicated since a battle of words on Twitter Sunday night. Logano indicated the issue that began at the Daytona 500 with Hamlin criticizing his driving wasn't over. "I feel like I've told him everything I can tell him,'' Logano told ESPN.com earlier in the week. "I've got nothing to say.'' Hamlin considers the issue over because they haven't talked.(ESPN)(3-22-2013)
War of words between Logano, Hamlin: #22-Joey Logano was tired of getting pushed around by his former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. So after Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, in which #11-Denny Hamlin spun him out with about 150 laps remaining, Logano decided to let him know it. But as Logano leaned into the window of Hamlin's #11 Toyota, a shoving match broke out between the crews of both teams. Logano quickly was restrained and retreated to his Penske Racing hauler. "We've got a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11," Logano said. "Probably the worst teammate I ever had, so I learned that now. He chose to run into the back of me. Whatever. I have a scorecard and I'm not putting up with that. What goes around come around." Asked what Logano said to him at the car, Hamlin said, "He said he was coming for me. I usually don't see him, so it's usually not a factor." NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said no penalties were expected for either driver or team.
The feud continued on Twitter after the race with Logano writing, "Hey @dennyhamlin great job protecting that genius brain of yours by keeping your helmet on."
Hamlin answered: "Why's that ... What would u do?"(ESPN)(3-18-2013)
Hamlin discusses dropping appeal of fine: From #11-Denny Hamlin's Friday media availability:
How do you feel about having this incident concluded?
"The biggest thing is I think that we won in the judge of the people and their opinion I think some of the peers of mine -- at least the ones that have a backbone had the nerve to stick up for what they know is right and wrong -- agreed. But what was the point in going another week or so. We've got bigger fish to fry than to argue over what I said just for $25,000 and it's better just to move on and let NASCAR get its credibility back and they're going to do that and I'm going to move on and just focus on a championship."
Is this something that Joe Gibbs helped to mediate?
"No, (Joe) Gibbs (team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing) really supported -- whatever I wanted to do, he was fine with it. Ultimately, I had some conversations with Brian France (NASCAR CEO) and we had a lot of the same ideas. And I think that in hindsight I really believe they (NASCAR) overreacted and I believe that they think they overreacted once they thought about it a little bit, but now we're at a point that we're good with each other and we're just going to move on from here."
Did you drop the appeal once you knew they wouldn't suspend you?
"I was prepared either way, honestly. They (NASCAR) are ultimately not going to want to suspend -- that would be their last resort. I was prepared to do it and I let my sponsors and everyone know that it's a possibility, so everyone was behind me to do whatever I wanted to do. But, ultimately after talking with NASCAR and (Joe) Gibbs (team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing) and everyone and really thinking about it more, it just needed to end."
Did your conversation with Brian France end with you feeling you could talk to him?
"That was the biggest complaint I had was that if I was Jeff Gordon, Tony (Stewart), Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. or any Hendrick (Motorsports) driver -- let's just say that -- they would have had a conversation with me before. Just to slap the fine on me and not tell me anything is what really, really bugged me a lot. That felt like I had not earned my place in this sport and I've grinded it out here for eight years and I really feel like I've done what it takes to earn the respect of both my peers and NASCAR and I felt like if I had been somebody else the outcome may have been different."(Toyota PR)(3-15-2013)
Hamlin drops appeal of fine: #11-Denny Hamlin tweeted Thursday afternoon, "After a lot of thought I have decided not to appeal the fine NASCAR has issued. Dragging myself, my team and NASCAR through the mud for the next 2 weeks would not be good for anyone. I firmly believe I am in the right on this issue and will stand behind my decision not to pay. I understand NASCAR will do what they feel is necessary based on my decision. Thanks to all of my fans and peers who have supported me in this decision. I look forward to putting it to rest."
AND NASCAR announced today that the $25,000 fine assessed to driver Denny Hamlin on March 7 will be settled per Section 12-3 of the 2013 NASCAR rule book after being informed by Hamlin that he will not appeal the penalty. Hamlin was fined after the sanctioning body determined he had violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing). NASCAR considers this matter closed.(NASCAR)
AND Section 12-3 of the NASCAR rule book allows NASCAR to collect fines from the driver points fund and/or race purse winnings.(3-14-2013)
Hendrick Motorsports still most valuable team according to Forbes: Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR's most valuable team with a value of $357 million, up 2%. Hendrick is worth twice as much as second-ranked Joe Gibbs Racing. Hendrick is the only four car Sprint Cup team left and brings in $125 million in sponsor revenue a year. Lowe's extended its deal last month through 2015 as the primary sponsor of Jimmie Johnson's #48 car. Earnhardt Ganassi (ranked #8 with a value of $72 million) announced it would switch engine suppliers from Earnhardt Childress Racing to Hendrick starting in 2013. This will add to Hendrick's coffers, which are already full as NASCAR's most profitable team with an estimated operating income of $16.6 million in 2012.
Gibbs, worth $168 million, leapfrogs Roush Fenway Racing. Gibbs got a huge boost in 2013 with the addition of 2003 Sprint Cup champ Matt Kenseth, who replaced Joey Logano in the #20 car. Gibbs has been one of the most consistent teams when it comes to selling sponsorships with all paint schemes sold ahead of the season start in 2012 and 2013. JGR signed a 30-race renewal with FedEx last year on the #11 car.
The value of Roush is down 10% to $166 million. The team has struggled to sell sponsorships in recent years and lost Kenseth to Gibbs. Richard Childress Racing ranks No. 4 with a value of $139 million, down 6%. Childress is at a crossroad as it prepares to lose its top driver, Kevin Harvick, who signed a deal to race for Stewart-Haas Racing starting in 2014. Still to be determined is if long-time sponsor, Budweiser, will follow Harvick out the door.
The value of Stewart-Haas is up 14% to $123 million and ranks fifth. Tony Stewart and Gene Haas are building one of the top teams in NASCAR.
NASCAR's top nine teams are worth $143 million on average, up 1% over last year. Each of these teams are profitable by our count (some just barely) with team's cutting budgets in cases where sponsor shortfalls arise. Earnings are down 10% overall compared to 2011.(see more details and the complete list at Forbes)(3-14-2013)
Gibbs still supportive of Hamlin's appeal: Joe Gibbs is standing by #11-Denny Hamlin in the driver's appeal of his $25,000 NASCAR fine. But the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing doesn't have much more to say about the dispute over Hamlin's penalty for criticizing the Gen-6 race car. After watching fellow JGR driver Kyle Busch finish second in Saturday's Nationwide Series race, Gibbs said he has talked to Hamlin about the brouhaha. "We've been talking all along," Gibbs told reporters. "We're keeping our communication open with NASCAR, too. We'll just go through a process here and work our way through it." Gibbs clammed up after that, referring everybody to his organization's statement that it would support Hamlin. Hamlin is allowed to drive while appealing the fine, which he says he won't pay. NASCAR could take the fine out of his winnings.(Associated Press)(3-10-2013)
Hamlin fined for Phoenix post-race comments UPDATES: NASCAR has fined driver #11-Denny Hamlin $25,000 for comments he made following the March 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR determined that Hamlin violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book. NASCAR issued the following statement regarding the penalty: "Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product."(NASCAR)
Comments: NASCAR did not announce the specific comment that got Hamlin fined, but the following appears to be his primary complaint against the car after the race (per Toyota PR):
Q: How much did you learn about the new race car today?
Hamlin: "We learned a lot. I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning. The teams hadn't figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th-place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there -- I wouldn't have moved up. It's just one of those things where track position is everything."(3-7-2013)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin said on Thursday that he refuses to pay the fine that NASCAR assessed him after comments he made regarding the new Generation 6 car last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The car debuted in the Sprint Cup Series this season. "Ultimately, I'm not OK with it," Hamlin said of the penalty. "This is the most upset and angry I've been about anything in a really, really long time – anything that relates to NASCAR ... the truth is what the truth is and I don't believe in this, I'm never going to believe in it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to pay the fine. If they suspend me, they suspend me. I don't care at this point."(Fox Sports)(3-7-2013)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR VP of Competition Robin Pemberton discussed the fine Thursday afternoon:
Q. Denny Hamlin was saying he's not planned to pay the fine that he was given for his comments. What would be the procedure and how long does he have to pay?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: He also has the ability to appeal. The fines are supposed to be paid as soon as possible, but we're not in any of those windows yet where it seems to be a problem.
Q. Where is the limitation for what drivers can say without facing a fine if they have concerns about the car, whatever?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: We give them quite a bit of latitude, but you can't slam your racing, you can't slam your product. That's where it crosses a line.
Q. If Denny wants to appeal the fine, what would that process entail?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: He has to let us know. He has to write a letter.
Q. He can continue to compete?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: Yes. It's like every other appeal. Over the course of time, you remember mechanics and crew chiefs, whatever, if they appeal, then they can continue to carry on business as usual until the appeal has been heard and ruled on.
Q. Just to clarify on that. When he does appeal, does it also go to the National Stockcar Racing Commission and then to the chief appellate officer?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: This isn't any different than an illegal part or piece.(NASCAR)(3-7-2013)
UPDATE 3: Denny Hamlin issued the following statement Thursday night: "The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was 1 sentence taken completely out of context. Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND nascars best interest in mind when speaking. On the other hand I am a person that worked very hard from the BOTTOM to get where I am today and someone telling me that I can give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me. Since being fined in 2010 I have been a lot more careful about what I say to media and I felt this past weekend felt completely in my rights to give a assessment of the question asked. I feel as if today NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed. So in the end there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me, this is not about the money. It's much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win."(3-7-2013)
UPDATE 4: Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: "We have spoken with NASCAR and will continue to keep an open dialogue with them on this matter, but we will keep those discussions between the parties involved. We will fully support Denny in his appeal process."(JGR)(3-7-2013)
#11 team changes engines; Hamlin to the rear: #11-Denny Hamlin will start Sunday's Sprint Cup race at the rear of the field after his Joe Gibbs Racing team changed engines in his Toyota Saturday. Hamlin qualified eighth Friday.(SPEED)(3-2-2013)
Sport Clips returns to sponsor Hamlin: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today the renewal of Sport Clips Haircuts as the primary sponsor for a total of nine races during the 2013 NASCAR season – the most in the Texas-based hair care franchise's five-year history with JGR. "We have a strong partner and true brand-ambassador in Joe Gibbs Racing," said Gordon Logan, Sport Clips Founder and CEO. "Through the years, it has been exciting to see racing fans become our clients, and our clients become racing fans, through this partnership and love of the sport." The 2013 season will mark Denny Hamlin's fourth year competing for Sport Clips. Hamlin won at Atlanta Motor Speedway last season driving the #11 Sport Clips Toyota. He will drive the #11 Sport Clips Toyota in two Sprint Cup Series races this season beginning with the May 11th race at Darlington followed by the September 1st race at Atlanta. In his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR veteran Elliott Sadler brings with him 197 career Nationwide Series starts, including nine wins, 46 top-five and 86 top-10 finishes. Sadler will race for Sport Clips in seven Nationwide Series Races, including the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on May 10th. "We'll have a lot of talent behind the wheel with Denny and Elliott! We're looking forward to an exciting season," said Logan. "We're excited to have Sport Clips continue its partnership with us at JGR," said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "It's been fun to watch the success of their program and how it continues to grow each season which now includes the Sprint Cup Series with Denny (Hamlin) as well as our Nationwide Series program with Elliott (Sadler)."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-13-2013)
Joe Gibbs Racing Notes from the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour: the final stop on the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour was Joe Gibbs Racing: Some notes from Twitter world
JGR officially announces multi-year extension with Kyle Busch.
Busch says he had two serious offers from other Sprint Cup teams to leave JGR (supposedly SHR was one).
Kyle Busch will also drive 25 Nationwide races for JGR in the #54.
Kyle says that Joe Gibbs Racing will supply engines for KBM (Kligerman in Nationwide, Coulter & Kyle in truck)
Denny Hamlin expects that new rear camber rules will make reliability a big topic in 2013.
Joe Gibbs says that all JGR Cup sponsors are signed for long term deals except one (Home Depot/Husky?).
Coach Gibbs says the 49ers will win this year's Super Bowl.
Matt Kenseth says changing teams at the same time as learning the new #car has been beneficial.
Elliott Sadler testing a Sprint Cup car today at New Smyrna Speedway but no Cup races set for him in 2013.
JD Gibbs says there will be an announcement on Bubba Wallace soon.
(from many Twitter reports/feeds)(1-24-2013)
Congrats Denny Hamlin...baby: per Denny Hamlin's twitter: "Introducing Taylor James Hamlin! Born Jan 20 at 20:20! Weighting 6lb 5oz and 20 inches in length. Mother is Jordan Fish.(1-21-2013)
Hamlin leaves Daytona test to be home for birth of his daughter: #11-Denny Hamlin spent just one day testing at Daytona International Speedway and then he had more important things to tend to. With girlfriend Jordan Fish nine months pregnant, Hamlin left Daytona Thursday night to return to their North Carolina home. Knowing that the three-day test at Daytona was scheduled around Fish's due date, the Joe Gibbs Racing team set up a plan to get its testing done in one day. The No. 11 Darian Grubb-led team went home after the test Thursday. Hamlin was among four drivers to run in a draft and had the top speed of the day at 195.712 mph.(Sporting News)(1-11-2013)
Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam raises $135,000: The inaugural Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation, which was held October 29-30 on Daniel Island in Charleston, SC, was a major success for a first-time event, raising $135,000. The fundraising event was hosted by NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and Hootie & the Blowfish founding member and lead guitarist Mark Bryan in partnership with Denis Gallagher, CEO of Student Transportation, Inc., and his company's philanthropic arm, the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation (STAEF). Proceeds from the two-day event were recently donated to the charitable organizations represented by hosts Denny Hamlin, Mark Bryan and STAEF, which have a common mission in creating better opportunities for children. $45,000 was donated to STAEF led by Denis Gallagher, $45,000 was also donated to Carolina Studios led by Mark Bryan, $30,000 was donated to MUSC Children's Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis research on behalf of The Denny Hamlin Foundation and another $15,000 was donated to fund other projects and donation requests from The Denny Hamlin Foundation. Dates for the 2nd Annual Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation have not been set yet for 2013.()(1-11-2013)
Study names NASCAR's Social Media Leaders: Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and #48-Jimmie Johnson are among NASCAR's strongest and most engaging users of social media, a new social media study of the NASCAR industry finds. The study – conducted by Tuckahoe Strategies, a strategic communications firm - scored drivers, teams and select NASCAR sponsors and partners on a 20-point scale. Joe Gibbs Racing topped the charts with a Social Media Score of 15 points, Hendrick trailed by one point at 14 points and Johnson scored 13 points.
Gibbs' online accounts comprise one of the broadest social media strategies for reaching fans of the sport. The team site, www.joegibbsracing.com, is up to date with timely features, and the homepage points to six social media platforms, including a mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry or Droid. The team maintains active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare. Hendrick also has an active and diverse menu of social media platforms including a mobile app. Gibbs' social media score bested Hendrick's by a single point because of its slightly more effective home page promotion of its social media platforms.
Johnson is the most comprehensive user of social media among drivers. He reaches his audience on a broad array of platforms including: Facebook, 657,062 page likes; Twitter, 348,402 followers; YouTube, 265 subscribers; and Instagram, with an industry-leading 60,618 followers. Johnson's social media reach (the sum of all social media followers across platforms) is 1,066,347. This veritable "media machine" has a following larger than the circulation of the Los Angeles Times, which is the fourth largest newspaper in the country.
The sport's largest audience holder and content curator across the board is NASCAR. The sanctioning body regained a voice and a direct connection to its fan base this year after repossessing control of its online assets in a January 2012 agreement with Turner Sports Interactive. NASCAR's total social media reach is an astronomical 5,044,070, more than double the daily circulation of the largest U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. In fact, NASCAR commands the industry's top position in terms of audience on Facebook likes (3,239,504), Twitter followers (841,027) and YouTube subscribers (5,430). The sanctioning body also has 1,420 followers on Pinterest and a staggering 956,689 circles on Google+.(Tuckahoe Strategies)(1-10-2013)
Johnson favored to win 2013 title by oddsmakers: A well-known online bookmaker has spoken, and #48-Jimmie Johnson is the 2013 favorite to win the Sprint Cup. In the betting game, it's not even close. Johnson is listed at 4-1 by Bovada . Next comes a three-way tie for No. 2 with defending champ #2-Brad Keselowski, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-Kyle Busch all at 17-2. Even though Busch failed to make the 2012 Chase, he is viewed as the second-most likely driver to win the 2013 title. Fourth on the list is #5-Kasey Kahne at 9-1, followed by three former champions at 12-1 -- #24-Jeff Gordon, #20-Matt Kenseth and #14-Tony Stewart, the 2011 champ. #99-Carl Edwards, the 2011 runner-up when he tied Stewart for the points total but had fewer wins, gets a decent betting line despite finishing 15th last season and going winless. He's 14-1 along with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Clint Bowyer and #16-Greg Biffle. #56-Martin Truex Jr. is 16-1, and #29-Kevin Harvick has the longest odds among the 2012 Chase drivers at 20-1, probably because he's a lame-duck driver at Richard Childress Racing. Harvick moves to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. If you want to pick a real long shot, #39-Ryan Newman is listed at 50-1 along with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. #1-Jamie McMurray, Montoya's teammate at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, is substantially better at 33-1. If you like #22-Joey Logano's chances in his first year at Penske Racing, you can get him at 40-1.(ESPN)(1-9-2013)
2013 silly season notes for #11-Denny Hamlin / Joe Gibbs Racing: no major changes in any way with the #11 team. Hamlin re-signed a multi-year deal with JGR midway thru the season. After a solid 2012 season, crew chief Darian Grubb starts his second season with Hamlin after winning the championship in 2011 with Tony Stewart. FedEx returns to sponsor the majority of the 2013 races. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(1-3-2013)
When FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office were run
FedEx Express - orange:
Budweiser Shootout - 2/18
Daytona - 2/26
Auto Club - 3/25
Talladega - 4/22
Pocono - 6/10
Kentucky - 6/30
Indiainapolis - 7/29
Richmond - 9/8
Martinsville - 10/28
Homestead - 11/18
FedEx Office - blue:
Phoenix - 3/4
All-Star Race, Charlotte - 5/27
Charlotte - 5/27
Sonoma - 6/24
Daytona - 7/7
Michigan - 8/19
Dover - 9/30
Texas - 11/4
FedEx Freight - red:
Las Vegas - 3/11
Martinsville - 4/1
Richmond - 4/28
Dover - 6/3, Autism
New Hampshire - 7/15
Watkins Glen - 8/12
New Hampshire - 9/23 Talladega - 10/7
Kansas - 10/21
FedEx Ground - green:
Bristol - 3/18
Kansas - 4/22
Michigan - 6/17
Pocono - 8/5
Bristol - 8/25
Chicago - 9/16
Charlotte - 10/13
FedEx Office - March of Dimes (1):
Texas - 4/14
Sports Clips (1):
Darlington - 5/12
Atlanta - 9/2
Hamlin Lobbied for Kenseth: #11-Denny Hamlin believes Matt Kenseth will be a perfect fit for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he made his feelings known when Kenseth started discussions with the organization. JGR announced in early September that Kenseth would drive the #20 Toyota for the organization next year. Roughly two months earlier, Roush Fenway Racing had reveled Kenseth would be leaving after 13 seasons of full-time Sprint Cup racing for that organization. "I was one that definitely pushed for Matt to come over to Gibbs, and I just think that he's really going to mesh well with me and Kyle (Busch)," Hamlin said. "I know that Kyle does a lot of short-track racing with Matt's son (Ross Kenseth), and I know that me and Matt have very similar driving styles on the race track. I look forward to that communication and just hearing about how he did things versus how we do things, and, really, that's what makes teams stronger. When Kyle came over in 2008, it was that drive that kind of pushed me to that next level --having someone come over and push you to be better. I think it's going to be no different with Matt."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-2-2012)
Hamlin could join Kyle Busch and Cale Yarborough: If #11-Denny Hamlin, who has a birthday today (Nov 18th), wins the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he would be only the third driver to ever win a Sprint Cup Series race on their birthday. The others are Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough wo won twice on his birthday (March 27) at North Wilksboro Speedway in 1977 and Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1983. Kyle Busch became the second driver to win on their birthday, winning on May 2, 2009 at Richmond. FYI: Richard Petty never won a Cup race on his birthday [July 2nd] and neither did Jeff Gordon [August 4th]. Hamlin finished 24th.(11-18-2012)
FedEx Team Volunteers in New Jersey: Denny Hamlin and some crew members from the #11 team spent Wednesday morning as volunteers alongside FedEx employees at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey to help the ongoing relief efforts following Superstorm Sandy. Hamlin helped unload trucks full of food and other supplies donated by FedEx, and helped make a $20,000 contribution to the organization from FedEx. After unloading the trucks, Hamlin and the group organized goods already in the food bank's warehouse, preparing them to be delivered. They then loaded a truck full of Thanksgiving turkeys, and delivered them to a local food shelter in the area. In total, FedEx has pledged more than $1.5 million in donations in affected areas following the storm, and has helped deliver more than three million pounds of supplies to date. Additionally, FedEx will donate $1 for every "Pack & Ship" transaction at FedEx Office from Nov. 26 - Dec. 2, up to another $50,000, for meals and groceries to food banks in New York and New Jersey. The FedEx Express ramp in New York City and the Newark, New Jersey FedEx hub will each get special attention this weekend with their JFK and EWR code letters on the b-posts of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota. The team members at these locations will be recognized for their efforts leading up to and following Superstorm Sandy.(FedEx Racing)(11-16-2012)
NASCAR still monitoring Hamlin after wreck: #11-Denny Hamlin understands why NASCAR was so concerned about the hit he took during a crash earlier this week at Kansas Speedway. The accident - Hamlin's Toyota tagged the wall while testing the speedway's newly repaved track Thursday - left Hamlin feeling dizzy and disoriented. Hamlin was ruled OK by doctors and was cleared to race in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. But Hamlin's crash got NASCAR's attention, especially after Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s doctor advised him to sit out last week's race at Charlotte and this weekend at Kansas due to two concussions he'd recently sustained. So Hamlin has been hearing from NASCAR quite a bit over the last few days. "They're persistent," said Hamlin, who starts ninth Sunday. "They're calling and texting you before you even wake up, wanting to check up on you. They do it all the time. Really, in all types of wrecks I've been a part of this year, it's been the next day and the following day that they continue to check up on you to make sure you're feeling OK."(Charlotte Observer)(10-21-2012)
Hamlin wrecks in Kansas testing: UPDATE: Championship contender Denny Hamlin said he felt "slightly dizzy" and admitted that he would probably not have gone to the infield care center after a testing crash Thursday at Kansas Speedway had a NASCAR official not suggested he do so. Hamlin crashed his #11 Toyota in Turn 1 -- the same corner Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit during a tire test on Aug. 29 where he sustained the first of two concussions that is forcing him to miss his second race in a row. Hamlin said he clipped the wall with the right rear going 202 mph entering the corner, sending the car down the track. He overcorrected and hit the wall with the right side, destroying the Camry he intended to race Sunday. After seeing the car's damage, a NASCAR official suggested that Hamlin go to the infield care center. Hamlin could not recall another time he had driven to the garage and a series official suggested he go to the care center. Hamlin was asked to return to the infield care center an hour later for a re-evaluation before being cleared to drive. He was cleared after a 10-minute evaluation. Hamlin's last lap before he crashed was 181.409 mph -- his fastest lap of the session. The track qualifying record is 180.856 mph set by Matt Kenseth in October 2005. Hamlin said he did not think the attention he received after his crash was related to the prominence of concussions after Earnhardt suffered two concussions within six weeks and will miss his second consecutive race. He said it made sense to be evaluated before getting back in a car.(USA Today)(10-18-2012)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin said he feels "100 percent" one day after jarring practice-session accident at Kansas Speedway caused him some dizziness. "Today waking up, I was good to go,'' Hamlin said Friday afternoon after practice. "I feel 100 percent. I thought I was good yesterday and got better every hour. Now it's just business as usual for the weekend." Hamlin took a heavy impact into the wall when his #11 Toyota spun up the track in practice on Thursday. He admitted he was dizzy afterward and said he "got his bell rung."(ESPN)(10-19-2012)
Hamlin consulting sport psychologist about Dover: Forgive #11-Denny Hamlin if he has that far-away gaze this weekend. He's falling in love. Well, he's trying to fall in love. His affections, though, aren't toward a person but a place -- Dover International Speedway. Hamlin, who has won three of the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup races, has openly admitted that Dover is his worst track in the 10-race title Chase. Complicating Hamlin's situation is that Dover is likely the best track for points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson, who has won four of the last seven races there, including the June race. Hamlin is third in the standings, trailing Johnson by seven points. It is for such mental hurdles that Hamlin first consulted Bob Rotella, a sports psychologist, last year. As he sought advice on Dover this week, Hamlin challenged Rotella to give him something extra meaningful. Hamlin revealed a text-message exchange he had with Rotella to a handful of reporters Tuesday during a NASCAR Hall of Fame appearance. Hamlin first texted Rotella: "I need some positive influence on the week coming up. It's my worst track." Rotella responded: "Let your challenge for the week be to fall in love with this track. From the moment you arrive look at things to love about it and reasons to love it. All week look for things great and special to happen to you. Embrace the challenge of having your best attitude that you've ever had this week. Take pride in showing yourself how strong your mind is. Own your mind and own the race track that you race. Control your attitude and let your emotions own the world. Have fun." Simple enough, yet so hard to do for any driver, let alone one like Hamlin who has had two top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts there and an average finish of 24.2 during that stretch.(USA Today)(9-26-2012)
So what was Grubb hiding when TV showed his laptop screen: Denny Hamlin crew chief Darian Grubb wasn't too happy Sunday when ESPN attempted to show his laptop computer screen on TV near the end of Hamlin's victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hamlin was leading with four laps remaining in the 300-lap race when an ESPN cameraman climbed onto Grubb's pit box and showed an over-the-shoulder shot of Grubb in front of his computer. Grubb then put his hand over the camera lens, and he and another crewman covered Grubb's computer screen with their hands. The reaction led to fans asking on Twitter what Grubb and his team did not want fans and TV viewers to see on his computer screen. Was he attempting to hide some sort of secret data he didn't want the world to see? "Just tire pressures, fuel mileage, race strategy, and other misc stuff," Grubb wrote on his Twitter.(Sporting News)(9-24-2012)
Joe Gibbs Racing Captures NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win No. 100: Joe Gibbs' hard-to-fathom two-sport career has become statistically symmetrical. Consider… Three Super Bowl championships? Check. Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships? Check. Triple-digit wins in the NFL? Check. Triple-digit wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? Well, after two-plus decades in the sport, Gibbs can check that rare milestone off the list too. With #11-Denny Hamlin's dominant win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) reached a rare milestone, becoming only the sixth team in NASCAR Sprint Cup history to reach 100 victories. Joe Gibbs entered the series in 1992 as a one-car team with eventual series champion Dale Jarrett as his driver. Now, JGR exists as a three-car powerhouse that threatens to win another championship this season with Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contender Hamlin. Its first championship came in 2000 with Bobby Labonte. JGR would follow that up win two more titles, both with Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005). Now, the team adds another accolade to the list – 100 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. JGR has won with six different drivers, at 23 different tracks. Below is a timeline of Gibbs' notable and milestone victories on its way to 100:
1 – On Feb. 14, 1993, JGR won its first race – and it was on NASCAR's biggest stage, the Daytona 500. With his father Ned urging him to victory while calling the race from the CBS broadcast booth, Dale Jarrett captured his second and Gibbs' first win. JGR has won at least one race every season since.
3 – JGR won its first Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, on May 28, 1995 with Bobby Labonte driving.
22 – JGR won its first Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Aug. 5, 2000, during his championship campaign, Bobby Labonte led 21 laps prior to kissing the bricks. JGR would win two more Brickyard events, both with Indiana native Tony Stewart (2005 and 2007).
23 – The team's next win came in another of NASCAR's crown jewels – the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Labonte picked up the win again, on Sept. 3, 2000.
50 – JGR reached milestone victory No. 50 on July 1, 2006. Tony Stewart won the Daytona night race, starting second and leading 86 laps.
72 – On June 28, 2009, in a rain-shortened event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, JGR driver Joey Logano became the youngest winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history at the age of 19 years, one month and four days.
88 – On Nov. 7, 2010, Denny Hamlin won at Texas Motor Speedway for the team's 11th victory of the year, making the 2010 season the most prolific in JGR's history.(NASCAR)(9-24-2012)
Hamlin wins at New Hampshire: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 5th win of year, 22nd career win and the 100th win for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin syarted 32nd after leading all practices but qualifying 32nd. Hamlin led 193 of the 300 laps.
#48-Johnson finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon (pole sitter), #15-Bowyer, #5-Kahne, #2-Keselowski, #14-Stewart, #20-Logano, #55-Vickers and #39-Newman.
#49-Johnson takes the points lead with 2096, a lead of 1 point over #2-Keselowski.
There were 4 cautions for 17 yellow flag laps. There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers. The average speed was 116.810mph.
The estimated attendence was 98,000 up from 95,000 in July and 95,000 last September.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the New Hampshire Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official New Hampshire Race & Points Report.(9-23/24-2012)
What happened to Hamlin in qualifying: #11-Denny Hamlin, who was fastest in Friday's lone practice with a speed of 134.820mph, went out last in qualifying for the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and only ran a fast lap of 131.633mph and will start 32nd. #24-Gordon had just gone out before him and ran a pole-winning lap of 134-911mph. From a Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes PR:
Q) What happened during your qualifying lap?
Hamlin: "I knew something was wrong. It looked like we just -- we ended up having race pressures and we didn't put our qualifying pressures in, so that was a tough one. I knew something was really, really wrong because we were just -- the car was bobbing down real bad -- but simple mistake. We'll rebound from it. We're quick enough. We'll get them, but that's frustrating. Holy cow -- I knew something had to be wrong. If there was nothing wrong than I would really be shaking my head. At least we identified what the problem was."(Toyota Racing)(9-21-2012)
Hamlin going for triple repeat: #11-Denny Hamlin goes for his third consecutive Sprint Cup victory on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. Hamlin has won twice at the track in 2009 and 2010. #48-Jimmie Johnson was the last driver won three Sprint Cup races in a row when he won four straight during the Chase in 2007 winning at Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix.(9-8-2012)
Denny Hamlin Featured in New ESPN NASCAR Commercial: After winning his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, #11-Denny Hamlin hit the airwaves in a different way this week as the star of a new NASCAR promotional commercial airing across ESPN networks. Hamlin, who will compete in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at his home track in Richmond in an event that will air live on ABC, is featured in the fourth and final spot in ESPN's humorous "Nothing Beats First Place" marketing campaign that was launched in mid-July. Drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski were featured in the previous three spots. In the new spot, Hamlin endures several painful episodes, including pulling on a wool sweater over a massive sunburn and finding out his favorite Mexican restaurant has become a year-round Christmas store, but finds that none are worse than losing on the racetrack. Wieden + Kennedy New York is the creative agency for the campaign. To preview the spot goto to ESPN's YouTube page.(ESPN)(9-5-2012)
Hamlin wins at Atlanta: #11-Denny Hamlin won the AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 4th win of year [the most in the series this season] and 21st career win. Hamlin is the first back-to-back winner of the 2012 season. It is also the 201st win for the car #11, the most all time, now 3 wins over the #43 car.
The race was won under a green-white-checkered finish after a late caution on lap 320. #56-Truex Jr. has a 2.6 second lead over #24-Gordon when the caution came out, but Hamlin won the race off pit road and Hamlin won and Truex Jr. spun his tires and finished 4th.
#24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #2-Keselowski, #56-Truex Jr., #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #27-Menard, #17-Kenseth and #55-Martin.
#10-Danica Patrick finished 29th, tying her career best in her fifth Sprint Cup race of the season.
The points leader, #16-Biffle, struggled and finished 15th, but keeps the points lead, now down to 7 points over #88-Earnhardt Jr.
The top nine in points are all locked in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. 10th in points, #14-Stewart, clinched at least a wild card spot. So at Richmond nest weekend, two spots are up for grabs, either two wildcard spots or 10th and one wildcard spot.
#14-Stewart, the pole winner, led the first 8 laps, then fell back and finished 22nd, down a lap.
There were 6 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps. There were 18 lead changes among 7 drivers. The average speed was 142.020mph.
The estimated attendance was 90,300 which is up from last years 87,600 which was the crowd on Sunday last year but the race was postponed until Tuesday, which ran in front of a crowd of 29,700.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Atlanta Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race & Points Report.(9-2/3-2012)
Sports Clips returns to sponsor Hamlin: This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sport Clips returns as the primary sponsor of Denny Hamlin's #11 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota for the second time this season. Early this season Sport Clips sponsored the #11 Toyota at Darlington Raceway where Hamlin drove a retro paint scheme in honor of Cale Yarborough's induction in to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Hamlin started the race eighth and finished second.(JGR), see images of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2012)
Hamlin wins an extra $10,000 for charity: Call it the $10,000 dance. The signature driver introductions before Saturday's Night Race had a little extra pizzazz as the 43 competitors vied to be chosen as the top act through a fan vote with legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer MC'ing the festivities. Before he won the race, #11-Denny Hamlin won the crowd's affections – and $10,000 for the charity of his choice – by showing off his dance moves for the second straight Cup event at BMS, this time wiggling through the "Wobble" dance to the namesake song by V.I.C. #14-Tony Stewart also drew plenty of cheers by channeling the driver voted the sport's most popular nine straight times. "Hey, I'm Dale Earnhardt Jr.," Stewart said during his introduction. "Have a good time tonight." #18-Kyle Busch drew his usual chorus of boos when he stepped on the track, entering to the song "Rowdy Busch" written in his honor by NASCAR rapper Raytona 500.(Bristol Herald Couirer)(8-27-2012)
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 wins at Bristol: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Irwin Tools Night Race Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of year and 20th career win. It is also the 200th win for the car #11, the most all time, 2 wins over the #43 car.
#48-Johnson finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #55-Vickers, #9-Ambrose, #18-Busch, #15-Bowyer, #20-Logano, #5-Kahne and #27-Menard.
#10-Danica Patrick finished 29th after a late race accident on lap 434, Patrick was running 19th on the lead lap before the wreck.
The points leader, #16-Biffle, struggled and finished 19, but keeps the points lead, 11 points over #48-Johnson.
#16-Biffle, #48-Johnson and #88-Earnhardt Jr. have clinched a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
#13-Mears, who started first after qualifying was canceled due to rain, led the first 26 laps and finished 21st, a lap down.
There were 13 cautions for 87 yellow flag laps. There were 22 lead changes among 13 drivers. The average speed was 84.402mph.
The estimated attendence was 145,000 down from last years 156,000.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Bristol Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race & Points Report.(8-25/26-2012)
Gibbs suing sponsor for non-payment: Joe Gibbs Racing was supposed to have Trans-Lux on the Sprint Cup car of #11-Denny Hamlin later this year but the company allegedly hasn't paid for its sponsorship of JGR, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month. Trans-Lux, which manufactures video display boards, including scoreboards for everything from high school fields to arenas, sponsored Joey Logano in his Nationwide Series win at California earlier this season. According to a news release at the time, the sponsorship would move to Hamlin's Cup car for one race this fall 2012 and also included access to NFL Hall of Fame coach and team owner Joe Gibbs. The two-page lawsuit, filed by JGR on Aug. 3 in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, does not list the amount of the sponsorship deal, which was signed in 2011. It alleges that Trans-Lux "breached the contract by failing to make various payments, when due."(Sporting News)(8-17-2012)
Congrats: #11-Denny Hamlin announced Friday at Pocono that his girlfriend, Jordan Fish, is pregnant:
Do you have some news to announce today? "I've been excited for a little while. I just want to let everyone know that me and Jordan (Fish) are expecting next January, and excited about that. It's been a long time coming, so it's going to be exciting to be a dad."
What are your thoughts on fatherhood and how were you raised by your dad? "Hopefully, half of what my dad was would be good. My family has done a lot for me to get to this point obviously, and just all of the sacrifices and all that they've gone through. My dad tells me all of the time that some of the best times he had is just carrying me around in his pickup truck every day taking me to work with him and things like that. It's going to be a great experience and so I'm really excited about it and really just excited to be a part of it. For my parents to have grandkids is all going to be good. Everything works great, things happen and we're excited about the timing. It's going to be in January, so it's the off -season so all of that seems to be aligning perfectly for us. My parents and all live a mile or two down the road, so they're going to get to visit all of the time. It's going to be a great time over these next six month s to a year."
Have you set a wedding date? "Especially now that all of this is going on and you want to be patient and everything. I am 31, so I consider myself pretty patient if I haven't been married yet. There's no reason to rush into it right now especially with everything that is going on. We've obviously got a busy six months ahead of us."(Toyota Racing PR)(8-3-2012)
Hamlin quotes about pit stop mis-communication: Toyota Camry driver #11-Denny Hamlin (second) was the top-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hamlin led the field five times for a race-high 150 laps (of 301) -- after starting third. Comments from Hamlin after the race:
How hard were you driving during the closing laps?
"That's all I had. That's as hard as I can drive and just came up about five car lengths too short. Trust me, if I could have got to him (Kasey Kahne), I would have made it real interesting. I just didn't have enough there at the end and it's all we could do. We made our bed by taking those four tires. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) wanted to take two (tires) -- I told him I just needed tires and that was it. He took it that I needed four tires. It was just a little miscommunication that turned into a second-place finish. You never know what could have happened on that last restart if we were taking two (tires). The 5 (Kahne) still may have been better, you never know. We obviously had a great car there at the end and made it interesting at least for the fans."
How did the final pit stop impact your car?
"It made our car faster than it already was today, but you can't overcome over a straightaway that we were back -- I think probably six seconds at one time. We just didn't have enough laps was the bottom line. We just came up short. It's days like these that you can just build on. We're going to be back here in just a few months when it really counts and that's when you want to win -- so we know we have something to race him with."
Did you think you could win the race after the four tire pit stop?
"You try to be as optimistic as possible, but you know in your head that was a death sentence basically for us. I honestly didn't think that we would get back to where we did -- Kasey (Kahne) stretched out so far on that lead when we were about 10th. I was thinking, top-five and then I was thinking I could get to the top-three and then we made some good ground up there at the end. Needed four or five more laps -- just needed to get within striking distance because I was going to rough him up."
Were you frustrated following the miscommunication about tires?
"They gave me a fast car -- there's days when you're not as good and you finish second and you're overjoyed. Today, you finish second and you're disappointed because you've got a dominant car. They gave me a new package this time around. We dominated all the practices and it showed in the race what we had. It's part of it. I would have loved to get win 200 for #11. That part of it is frustrating that we can't break through and get that. We're getting close."(Toyota Racing)(7-16-2012)
Hamlin says back will be fine: #11-Denny Hamlin said Thursday his back is feeling fine and he doesn't expect any issues this weekend at New Hampshire. Hamlin missed practice last week at Daytona and sat out the Nationwide Series race while receiving treatment for back spasms. He said he's had torn and bulging disks for some time, and may someday need surgery on his back. "It's a lot better. I worked on doing some rehab with the back, I've had this episode happen once or twice in the last four years," he said. "It's taken about a week to get over it. Really it was last Monday that set it off. Right at the start of this week the spasms started subsiding. It is feeling a lot better."(Associated Press)(7-13-2012)
It's a girl for Darian and Yolanda Grubb: Darian Grubb, crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin, and his wife Yolanda welcomed a baby girl Monday morning. Gabriella joins big brother Gavin.(7-10-2012)
Hamlin missed Thursday practices because of sore back: UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin will skip Sprint Cup practice Thursday because of a sore back. His JGR teammate, Joey Logano, will take Hamlin's car out Thursday, splitting time during the 4 p.m.-5:20 p.m. and 6:35 p.m.-8 p.m. ET sessions, which are the only practices scheduled for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday. Drivers typically don't practice during both of the entire sessions because they want to make sure their engines are fresh and so they don't wreck their primary cars. JGR officials said Wednesday that they didn't expect to have a standby driver for Hamlin, who is fifth in the Cup standings and must start the race Saturday in order to earn the points for the event. Hamlin already has decided not to run the Nationwide Series race Friday.(Sporting News)(7-5-2012)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin spoke to the media Thursday about his back:
What is wrong with your back?
"There are a few things. There are some torn disks and there's some bulging disks. There's a lot of different things that's just happened over time, and it's just gotten progressively worse. I noticed -- Kentucky is not the smoothest of race tracks that we've gone to, and with our aggressive setups nowadays , evidentially took its toll on us and the next day it got real tight by the end of the day, and then I sat down for dinner and couldn't get up. I've had a history of back spasms now for probably four years and it just flared up again. This is about as bad as it was at its worse in 2008 or so. I'm just now starting to get mobile again and being able to get around. We don't want to set any of that back by sitting down any longer than I have to."
How long does it take to rehab and strengthen your back?
"It's all going to be based off of my feel really. I think that I really feel like, by say Monday or Tuesday , that I'll feel exactly the way I was before last week. I've always had back pain. Unfortunately I inherited it from my dad. It's one of the bad qualities I did get from him. It's just one of those things that anytime I play an activity, it doesn't matter what it is, even if I go for a run, I've always had back problems afterwards -- stiffness and things like that."
Did your doctor tell you if you'd eventually need surgery for your back? "Years down the road, he said. What we're trying to cover up is basically just stuff that can be helped with just training and things like that. I'm just going to do more physical therapy to specifically work on that because I really haven't in my training regimen that much here lately -- worked on back issues so now we're going to shift that focus to that."(Toyota Motorsports)(7-6-2012)
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)
Hamlin to Visit Alaska: #11-Denny Hamlin will visit the FedEx Express Hub in Anchorage for a special meet-and-greet with FedEx team members at the facility on Monday, June 25. While there, Hamlin will also meet current Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey and learn the sport of mushing. The afternoon will conclude with a 100-yard dog sled race between the NASCAR star and Seavey. The FedEx Express Hub in Anchorage employs more than 1,350 FedEx Express team members, plus a staff of 150 regulatory professionals. With strategic proximity by air to North America, Europe and Asia, the FedEx Hub in Anchorage connects customers to more than 220 countries and territories on six continents including major distribution and population centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and the emerging markets of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and many other Asian cities.(JGR)(6-20-2012)
JGR working on engine issues: Joe Gibbs Racing experienced some highs and lows at Pocono Raceway a week ago with #20-Joey Logano winning the race but teammate #18-Kyle Busch suffering engine failure. On Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, it was all lows. Busch suffered another engine failure. #11-Denny Hamlin was involved in a wreck and then had to escape a fire when his car went up in flames. And Logano also crashed. On the day, Busch was 32nd, Hamlin 34th and Logano 35th. "I keep thinking to myself, I'm looking for something easy (to do) and I'm running out of time," said team owner Joe Gibbs, a retired NFL coach. "This certainly isn't it. It was a tough day for us." For Busch, it was his third engine issue in as many weeks. JGR merged its engine department with Toyota Racing Development after last season. All the engines are built at TRD in California and then shipped to JGR, which handles the final tuning and race weekend management. Busch's problems haven't been the same issue each week, but that can be even more exasperating for the team as it tries to fix multiple issues. Gibbs said the team knew what happened to the engines at Dover and Pocono.(Sporting News)(6-20-2012)
Special scheme for Hamlin at Dover: When #11-Denny Hamlin takes to the track for Sunday's "FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, fans will be treated to a specially designed paint scheme just for the Monster Mile that shows support for Autism Speaks. This will be the second straight year Hamlin has run a special paint scheme for Autism Speaks at Dover, and just another component in the now six-year partnership between Autism Speaks and the track. Also, the first 11,000 fans through the gate at the FedEx 400 will receive a mini-diecast #11 car that also serves as a FedEx Office coupon. Hamlin will be on hand representing FedEx and Autism Speaks the night before his race during the pep rally for the NASCAR Unites Track Walk and Sunoco Free Fuel 5K Run, set to take place immediately after Saturday's Nationwide Series race. The driver will help rally the walk from the SPEED stage in the FanZone before the event begins.(Dover International Speedway), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(5-31-2012)
JTG & JGR also re-sign with Toyota: Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing announced new multiyear extensions with Toyota on Tuesday. Lee White, the president of Toyota Racing Development, said all three teams will be with Toyota "for a long time to come." The announcement was made at TRD's Salisbury, N.C., shop where the re-designed 2013 Camry was introduced. It came amid speculation that Dodge, which loses anchor Penske Racing to Ford after this season, might target JGR. White admitted that one of Toyota's organizations was "ripe for the picking by one of our fellow manufacturers." "All have agreements with Toyota and TRD that extend beyond two more years," White said. "Rest assured, we enjoy our partners, we value our partners, and we expect to be competing with our partners on this dance floor for a long time." JGR owner Joe Gibbs said he never had conversations with Dodge.(ESPN)(5-23-2012)
Hamlin honoring Yarborough at Darlington: Adding to the history surrounding the #11 team this weekend at Darlington Raceway, Denny Hamlin will take it a step further as he steps out in a retro firesuit and pilots a retro Sport Clips Toyota. The special Sport Clips Toyota retro paint scheme will honor Cale Yarborough and his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Of the 199 wins for the #11 car, Yarborough leads all drivers with 55 of those wins. Hamlin has earned 19 wins in the #11 car.(JGR), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(5-9-2012)
JGR close to extension with Toyota: Joe Gibbs Racing plans to sign a long-term extension with Toyota within the next month, ending any speculation it could move to Dodge. "We're working on that," JGR president J.D. Gibbs told ESPN.com on Sunday after Denny Hamlin's victory at Kansas Speedway. "We'll be with Toyota for a long time to come." Dodge has been looking for a team to anchor its 2013 program since Penske Racing announced earlier this year it would leave the manufacturer for Ford next season. JGR, since its contract with Toyota is up after this season and because the organization has the infrastructure to build its own engines, became a natural target. Gibbs said that is not a consideration (ESPN)(4-23-2012)
Hamlin wins at Kansas: #11-Denny Hamlin won the STP 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway for his 2nd win of the year, 1st at Kansas and his 19th career win. It is the first win for Toyota at Kansas. The win for car #11, is the 199th win, one ahead of the #43 car, which has 198 wins [Richard Petty won races in cars other than the #43].
#56-Truex Jr., who led the most laps, finished 2nd followed by #48-Johnson, #17-Kenseth, #16-Biffle, #29-Harvick, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kahne, #99-Edwards and #18-Busch
Pole sitter, #22-Allmendinger, had engine problems anf finished 32nd, after leading 44 laps.
There were only 3 cautions for 18 yellow flag laps, a new record [was 5 and 23 laps]. The race speed average was 144.122mph, breaking the race record set by Greg Biffle in Oct 2010 of 138.077mph. There were 14 lead changes among 9 drivers.
The estimated attendence was 75,000, down from 80,000 in 2011.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Kansas Race Results page (pdf) and the official rundown on the Official Race Report.(4-23-2012)
Hamlin racing for a cause at Texas: Denny Hamlin will race a special #11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota paint scheme this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. FedEx has donated a paint scheme to the organization in each of the past five seasons to help raise awareness for March for Babies walks that occur in 900 communities nationwide -- including the Dallas/Fort Worth-area -- in late-April. In addition, Hamlin will be accompanied by a special guest at the track -- six-year-old Kieran Wittstruck. Kieran was born two months premature, but has grown into a healthy young boy with help from the March of Dimes. The FedEx Office Texas North Sales Team will be recognized with its code "7372" on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Texas North is the leading Sales team in the annual FedEx President's Club program, and attributes its success to its focus on creating solutions to meet their customers' needs.(FedEx Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-12-2012)
Hamiln caddies for Bubba Watson at Masters Par 3 contest: Even though it was just the annual Par 3 Contest at the Masters, big-hitting Bubba Watson brought a driver. His caddie Wednesday was his NASCAR racing pal and fellow left-hander, Denny Hamlin. Hamlin, the 2010 Sprint Cup Series runner-up, met Watson that year when they played golf together with their agents in Arizona. "My agent said Bubba is a lefty, too, so you'll have to go out there and play," Hamlin said. "So I was like, 'Of course, I'd love to do that.' So we went out there and played. Our personalities are kind of the exact same, so it was a very easy friendship right from the get go." Hamlin also loves golf. He plays at least a couple of times a week despite hectic races and promotional appearances. Hamlin said a good score for him for 18 holes is in the low 80s. On the last hole, Watson hit into tee shot over water to within about 20 feet of the hole on the fringe of the green. Hamlin took the birdie putt. He missed it just right, about a foot past the hole. Turning his back to the hole for the next putt, he tapped the ball backwards between his legs with one hand and into the cup as the crowd cheered.(USA Today)(4-5-2012)
Hamlin wins at Phoenix: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for his 1st win of the year and 18th of his career. He also gets his first win with new crew chief Darian Grubb. #29-Harvick made a late charge for the lead but ran low on fuel. He held on to finish 2nd followed by #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson, #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch, #56-Truex, Jr., #24-Gordon, #55-Martin, and #20-Logano. #14-Stewart shut his car off during a late caution and was unable to get it refired. He lost 2 laps and finished 22nd.
There was 7 cautions for 16 laps. There were 25 lead changes among 15 drivers. The estimated attendence was 76,000, up from 75,000 in 2011.
See race results, awards, money won and more on the Phoenix Race Results page (pdf).(3-4-2012)
Several treated for smoke inhalation at Joe Gibbs Racing: Several people were treated for smoke inhalation at Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville Tuesday afternoon, officials said. According to Huntersville police, some machinery at the racing compound caught fire. Firefighters were called in to battle the blaze around 2:45 p.m. The fire is under control, fire officials said. Medic officials said units responded to the fire, but had not yet transported anyone. No one has commented on what caused the fire or how much damage was done as a result of the fire. Almost a year ago, a similar fire happened at the facility that caused two people to be treated for smoke inhalation. According to officials, the 2011 fire started in an engine dyno during a test.(WSOC)(1-31-2012)
UPDATE: A piece of equipment in the machine shop caught fire today at our Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters in Huntersville, NC. The fire department was called and the fire was quickly contained and extinguished. A few of our employees received treatment on site for issues related to smoke inhalation. All employees were able to return to work within the hour to continue preparations for the 2012 NASCAR season.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-31-2012)
Sport Clips to sponsor Hamlin at Darlington: Sport Clips Haircuts will sponsor a total of eight races during the 2012 NASCAR season, including the Sprint Cup Series race in Darlington with the #11 Sport Clips Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin and seven additional Nationwide Series races. This is the fourth year Sport Clips has been a sponsor with JGR and the eight total races (seven Nationwide and one Cup) is the most the organization has ever sponsored in a single season.In addition to the Darlington Sprint Cup Series race, Sport Clips will appear on JGR's #18 and #20 Nationwide Series Toyota a total of seven times in 2012 with drivers Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-18-2012)
Several drivers getting new spotters: In addition to getting adjusted to new personnel on their teams, several drivers will be working with new spotters when testing opens Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Dickerson, who has spotted for #24-Jeff Gordon the last couple of years, left to pursue an opportunity in racing that will give him more time with his family. He has not announced where he is going.
• Eddie D'Hondt, who had won 39 races across all NASCAR series with #18-Kyle Busch, will move to Hendrick Motorsports to work as Gordon's spotter.
• Todd Hirschman, who was spotter for AJ Allmendinger, will replace D'Hondt as Busch's spotter.
• Busch isn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to have a new spotter for 2012 as two spotters whose drivers have not announced 2012 rides have found new gigs - Chris Lambert, who was the spotter for Brian Vickers, will replace Curtis Markham as spotter for #11-Denny Hamlin and Rocky Ryan, who was spotter for David Ragan, will replace Joey Civali as spotter for #20-Joey Logano.
• Chris Osborne, who was spotter for Kurt Busch at Penske Racing, will start the season spotting for Allmendinger while Busch will use his new boss - Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll - as his spotter.
• #15-Clint Bowyer, who has moved from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing, will go to the test with MWR general manager Ty Norris as his spotter.
• Kevin Hamlin, who was Bowyer's spotter, will remain at RCR and work with Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series.
• #43-Aric Almirola will use Tyler Green as his spotter. Green spotted for Almirola at JR Motorsports and will now spot for him at RPM.(Scene Daily)(1-11-2012)
Ford out as Hamlin's crew chief: UPDATE 3 - Grubb in: Mike Ford was let go Tuesday as crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin after a disappointing season in which the duo failed to contend for the championship. "I'm kind of relieved," Ford told The Associated Press. "It had been dragging on for so long, I'm actually relieved there's finally a resolution." Joe Gibbs Racing team owner Joe Gibbs met with championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb [formerly of #14-Tony Stewart] last week in Las Vegas, the day after the season-ending awards ceremony. Grubb has also toured the JGR facility. Ford said JGR officials made no mention of Grubb in telling Ford he was out late Tuesday.(Associated Press), no word on Mike Ford's plans.(12-6-2011)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Mike Ford has been released from his duties as crew chief for its #11 Sprint Cup Series team. "Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing appreciates what Mike has done for our organization over the past six seasons as crew chief with our #11 team," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We've decided it was best to make a change with the team now to allow Mike the opportunity to pursue other opportunities." There will be no immediate announcement regarding a replacement crew chief for the #11 team.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-6-2011)
UPDATE 2: Darian Grubb says he's close to announcing his plans for 2012. The 2011 Sprint Cup championship crew chief attended Tuesday night's Stocks-for-Tots fundraising event at the NASCAR Technical Institute and said he hopes to reveal his plans by the end of the week. "I'm hoping to get it all ironed out by the end of the week because we have to get things rolling for 2012, and get things going no matter where I go." With today's announcement of the departure of Mike Ford as crew chief for the No. 11 FedEx Toyota and driver Denny Hamlin, the open slot at Joe Gibbs Racing is one possibility for Grubb. "It's all still rumors at this point," Grubb said. "I've talked to a lot of people and I have narrowed down my list a little bit and I still haven't made any decisions myself. Hopefully, by the end of the week we'll have some decisions made and get some announcements out there."(Motor Racing Network)(12-7-2011)
UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Darian Grubb has been named crew chief for its #11 FedEx Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. "Darian is a great addition to our organization and person to lead our #11 FedEx team," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Obviously he has proven the ability to guide a team to a championship and we are excited to have him working with Denny (Hamlin) toward achieving that goal here at Joe Gibbs Racing." Grubb is coming off an impressive championship run with driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing which included winning five of the 10 Chase races en route to capturing the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. He spent the past three seasons as crew chief for Stewart on the No. 14 car after the driver left JGR to start his own race operation. Prior to joining Stewart-Haas Racing, Grubb spent six years with Hendrick Motorsports; rising through the organization's engineering ranks and gaining invaluable crew chief experience. "I'm thrilled to join Joe Gibbs Racing," said Grubb. "The chance to work with Denny is something I'm excited about. When you sit down with Joe and J.D. Gibbs you can't help but be excited about this opportunity and the team aspects of JGR. There is no question about the level of support you get here and I'm looking forward to working with everyone across the entire organization."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-9-2011)
Hamlin has wins in all three series: When #11-Denny Hamlin won the Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, October 29th at Martinsville Speedway, he became the 23rd driver to win at least one races in each of the NASCAR National Series: Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. See the list on my All-Time Winners page.(10-30-2011)
Denny Hamlin to run Martinsville truck race for Kyle Busch: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that Denny Hamlin will drive the team's #18 Tundra in the Kroger 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway Saturday, Oct. 29. Toyota and Traxxas, the leading manufacturer of hobby-class radio-controlled vehicles, will serve as co-primary sponsors. Hamlin has posted five top-10 finishes in 11 career Truck Series starts, including two top 10s in four starts at Martinsville. His career-best result behind the wheel of a truck was a third-place finish in the 2008 E-Z Go 200 at Atlanta.(Kyle Busch Motorsports PR)(10-21-2011)
Dollar General leaves Turner Motorsports; headed to JGR? UPDATE - Official: Turner Motorsports announced Tuesday that Reed Sorenson, who is currently third in the Nationwide Series standings, is out as driver of the #32 Dollar General Chevy. Brian Vickers will assume driving duties from Sorenson beginning this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Turner offered no reason why Sorenson has been sidelined despite the driver currently sitting third in the Nationwide Series points standings. "I'm pretty confused right now," Sorenson said. "I really don't know what's going on right now. I'm trying to figure some stuff out and get through this weekend. It's hard on me, it's hard on the guys that work on this car and where we finish in points. So it's a bad deal." The announcement comes on the same day that Turner Motorsports acknowledged that Dollar General was leaving at the end of the year. Dollar General is expected to be a limited sponsor on one of Joe Gibbs Racing's Sprint Cup cars and as a primary sponsor in the Nationwide Series. Calls to J.D. Gibbs were not returned.(FoxSports)(10-5-2011)
UPDATE: The sponsorship picture at Joe Gibbs Racing is set to undergo a vast change next season. At a news conference Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dollar General is expected to announce will greatly increase its involvement in NASCAR, sponsoring both Sprint Cup and Nationwide series teams at JGR in 2012. Among the changes:
- Dollar General will become the primary sponsor on driver Joey Logano's #20 Toyota in the Cup series for 10 to 12 races in 2012.
- Dollar General will become the primary sponsor on JGR's #11 Nationwide Series team driven by Brian Scott.
- The company will also be the primary sponsor for several races for JGR's #18 and #20 Nationwide teams.
Dollar General will likely also continue its involvement with the Truck series team owned by JGR driver Kyle Busch, sources said. A JGR spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday when asked about the sponsorship changes. The move means Home Depot, which has been a primary sponsor in the Cup series with JGR since 1999, will relinquish roughly a third of the races on the #20 next season.(Charlotte Observer)(10-11-2011)
UPDATE: Dollar General announced its new sponsorship agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing that includes contenders in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series in 2012. Dollar General also announced plans to continue its Camping World Truck Series sponsorship with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2012. Dollar General will become the primary sponsor of JGR's #20 Toyota Camry, driven by Joey Logano, for 12 Sprint Cup races. In addition, Dollar General will be the primary sponsor of JGR's #11 Toyota, driven by Brian Scott, for a full season in the Nationwide Series. In 10 Nationwide races, Dollar General will also support an additional JGR car, either #18 driven by Kyle Busch or #20 driven by Logano. In the Camping World Truck Series, Dollar General will return for 10 races with KBM. The #18 truck will be driven by Busch.(Dollar General PR)(10-13-2011)
Hamlin looking to 2012: from a Toyota Racing transcript of #11-Denny Hamlin meeting with the media at Dover:
Q) What is your outlook after two races in the Chase?
Hamlin: "We definitely are in a position now (12th) to where we can kind of relax and have some fun and try to win some races from here on out. That's the important, number one priority for us right now is to kind of get back on track before the year is over."
Q) Will the Phoenix test [Oct 4-5] be more for November or 2012?
Hamlin: "I would say probably 2012 more than anything for us. We've got some different packages and stuff that we're going to work on. Ultimately we're going to go each week and try to win that given week. We're going to be trying wholesale stuff more so than just fine tuning to that race track in specific."(Toyota Racing)(10-1-2011)
Hamlin discusses his crew chief: in part from a NASCAR Cam Video Teleconference Transcript: with #11-Denny Hamlin on September 27, 2011, an Interview with Denny Hamlin, currently 12th in the Sprint Cup Series Chase Points standings:
Q. You obviously had a tough break at New Hampshire running out of fuel, a decision that comes in part from the guy on top of the pit box. I was just wondering how you would characterize your relationship with Mike Ford right now and how it's handled this year of ups and downs, and also, what's the one thing you guys really need to improve on in the last eight races, the communication between each other, to be even more competitive and be up there contending for wins?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, we all know this is a performance business, and obviously you've got to be competitive and contend for race wins so everyone feels good about their job. I feel like Mike is the guy for me. I feel like he's done a great job. He won me eight races last year. Some of the things that we've had go wrong this year are crew chief related, some of them are not. Most of them are not. Some of them are driver related. It weighs on all of our shoulders equally, and I feel like he's kind of received a bit of a bad rap because of that.
But I feel like he's the reason -- kind of the backbone of this race team, and obviously if you made a change, it would take a long time to get back to where I feel like we're capable of running at this point right now. I think at times during the season we've gotten off track between the two of us, and I feel like these last four or five weeks the communication has been better. I feel like we were heading in the right direction, we've just had some things go wrong these first couple Chase races that makes it look worse than it really is.
Q. I was wondering if you could elaborate on your relationship with Mike Ford a little bit, and has there been times this year when you've questioned the direction of the team and thought maybe a change was needed?
DENNY HAMLIN: You always have thoughts about what you need to do to improve, and like I said before, there's been weeks where I can put some of the responsibility on Mike, there's been some weeks that it ultimately goes on my shoulders, and there's some weeks where it's things back at the shop that need to be improved on.
Until we have one specific thing that we need to work on and can identify as a problem, I can't see changing much. But I feel like we have a good group of guys. I can win a championship with Mike; I really and truly do believe that. But we've just got to get our ship righted. It seems like our communication at some point in the year got stale. I felt like we've turned that around this last month or so, and we had three good finishes going into the Chase, and of course we had flat tires and a loose wheel the first Chase race. That's stuff that Mike can't help. He can't help those problems that we have. Loudon, New Hampshire, fuel mileage. It's 50/50. It's one of those things where maybe I used up too much gas, maybe it was too risky of a call. But either way, it weighs on us equally when we don't run well. So I'm not going to completely throw him under the bus.(NASCAR Transcript)(9-28-2011)
Hamlin seeing sports psychologist: #11-Denny Hamlin said Tuesday he's been working with a well-known sports psychologist in an attempt to improve his attitude and outlook. Hamlin has been in a miserable slump since the penultimate race of last season, when poor fuel mileage at Phoenix figured heavily in his failure to wrest the championship away from Jimmie Johnson. Although he was still the points leader heading into the final race of the year, he had a poor weekend and Johnson won his fifth consecutive title. Many have speculated he's not been the same on or off the track since the Phoenix race, and Hamlin admitted Tuesday he struggled with the pressure of the championship race. Hamlin was initially reluctant to elaborate on whom he was working with, but eventually revealed it was Rotella and he had been referred to him by team owner Joe Gibbs. He did not say how long he's been working with Rotella.(ESPN/Associated Press)(9-29-2011)
Hamlin talks about TRD engines: #11-Denny Hamlin met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and discussed a few items, and was asked about running TRD [Toyota Racing Development instead of JGR engines] engines for the first time:
What do you think about the decision to use the TRD engine beginning this weekend?
Hamlin: "We talked about asking TRD (Toyota Racing Development). You have to understand, this is a big favor to ask a manufacturer to provide engines for us for the rest of the year. It's a lot of manpower, a lot of work had to be done, especially within JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). There's a lot of work that had to be done to get this engine imported into our car. So, we were going to have to ask and pull a lot of favors to do it. We just asked them if they'd be willing to do it and they did. I was behind it 100 percent. I felt like it was the right thing to do. Ultimately what matters is results. Things happen, engines blow -- things happen like that -- but we felt like they've worked out a lot of reliability issues that they had early on. If we were going to make the Chase, we could not afford DNFs because of engine failures and on top of that, we couldn't afford to keep starting in the back every week because of engine failures. I didn't help us out last week, but we started in the back I think four times because of blown engines. That's just too hard to over come, especially with as hard as it is today to win a race."
How do you think using the TRD engines will help you for the remainder of the season?
Hamlin: "It's a tough balance because you have some employees that take a lot of pride in their work. When you ultimately switch, some people's feelings get hurt sometimes. We have to do what we have to do to make sure we finish races at this point. Being on the bubble, we cannot afford any DNFs. We're just doing what we have to do. I hate to say it. Toyota is our partner in this whole thing. When we joined them in 2008, they said anything you need, we're going to give it to you. This is a huge request and obviously it's come to this point and hopefully it works out."(Toyota Racing)(8-20-2011)
Hamlin could have TRD engine at Michigan: #11-Denny Hamlin, who has experienced more than his share of engine issues this season, may have a Toyota Racing Development engine in his Sprint Cup car next weekend at Michigan. TRD president Lee White said there remain issues to work out, the biggest fitting the TRD engine into a car for which Joe Gibbs Racing builds engines specifically. Hamlin said he and crew chief Mike Ford requested the change as the team, ranked 11th in points and currently holding the second wild-card spot with a win, tries to solidify its Chase position. "We felt like we were on pace to have an engine failure every four weeks or so,'' Hamlin said after hitting the wall during qualifying for Sunday's race at Watkins Glen International. "We just knew we were going to have another one before the Chase started if the odds worked out, and another couple in the Chase. We asked TRD to help us out and they were more than happy to help us out."(ESPN.com)(8-14-2011)
Gibbs fourth team "a long shot": Joe Gibbs Racing President JD Gibbs said plans for a fourth Sprint Cup team were not necessarily derailed when Carl Edwards opted to remain with Roush Fenway Racing, rather than jump to JGR. "In each of the last three years, we've looked around to see what kind of things pop-up that would allow us to make (a fourth team) work," Gibbs said. "But it all has to come together. You have to have a driver, which is key. You need the right partner to sponsor the team (and) you have to have the right crew. If all that comes together, we're good to go. We can go quickly. But we've also learned that if all that doesn't come together, we're better off waiting, instead of trying to force something to go together. That's where we are right now. We can go quickly if it all lines up, and that's our hope." He admitted that a fourth Sprint Cup Series Toyota in 2012 is "probably a long shot, (since) we're not lined up with the right partners. But I also wouldn't rule it out. We don't have to plan something out six months in advance. We can cut it a little closer and make it work. We're in no hurry. There's no panic and we're not going to force it, but if the opportunity is there, we can take advantage of it quickly."(Sirius Speedway)(8-12-2011)
Gibbs to close engine shop? UPDATE: hearing that Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] will lay off half their engine shop staff and get engines supplied, supposedly for free, from TRD - Toyota Racing Development. Hearing it is a three year deal, not sure if it starts soon or with the 2012 season. Employee's not laid off will be reassigned within the company, as there are reports that JGR will expand to a fourth team and are in the hunt for Carl Edwards to drive for them in 2012. Edwards is a free agent and currently drives for Roush Fenway Racing in the #99 Ford. Just last week, Toyota'a Lee White told FoxSports: "No, they're not shutting down their engine shop and no we will not be building their engines," White said. "Of course, hell can freeze over and pigs can fly, but not in this world." Currently, the JGR engines would not even fit in the other Toyota cars with their configuration.(7-15-2011)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota Research and Development announced Thursday that they are combining their engine efforts in 2012. Officials said there is a chance that JGR cars could use engines out of TRD headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif., before the end of this season, but that the focus is on next year. Economics in part drove the merger. As Lee White, the president of TRG said, "Building for three teams or less is extremely expensive and inefficient." JGR builds all of its engines while the other Toyota teams -- Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing -- receive engines from TRD. With JGR looking to expand its Nationwide presence and add a Trucks program, the merger gives the organization more flexibility. With the future of Red Bull Racing in doubt, the addition of JGR also allows TRG to maintain a full workload if Red Bull's organization folds or is moved to another manufacturer with new investors. Gibbs said JGR will maintain its engine shop in Huntersville, N.C., so that it can make any tweaks to the engines it deems necessary and to work on other projects.(ESPN.com) See earlier updates on the #18 team page.(8-11-2011)
Gibbs to close engine shop? UPDATES: hearing that Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] will lay off half their engine shop staff and get engines supplied, supposedly for free, from TRD - Toyota Racing Development. Hearing it is a three year deal, not sure if it starts soon or with the 2012 season. Employee's not laid off will be reassigned within the company, as there are reports that JGR will expand to a fourth team and are in the hunt for Carl Edwards to drive for them in 2012. Edwards is a free agent and currently drives for Roush Fenway Racing in the #99 Ford. Just last week, Toyota'a Lee White told FoxSports:
"No, they're not shutting down their engine shop and no we will not be building their engines," White said. "Of course, hell can freeze over and pigs can fly, but not in this world." Currently, the JGR engines would not even fit in the other Toyota cars with their configuration.(7-15-2011)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing President JD Gibbs told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he has no plans to shutter the team's engine shop and merge motor-building operations with Toyota Racing Development. "I think a lot of that started when Red Bull Racing announced they were going to cease operation," said Gibbs. "A lot of people started trying to plug things into different spots. There are some things that TRD and Toyota do really well, and there are some things that we do really well. For several years, we've been working on how to bring all those strengths together. (JGR Head Engine Builder) Mark Cronquist has got some real sharp guys… and the question – again – is how do we bring all that together (with Toyota and TRD)? If we can do that, I think there will be some real value. But there is no shutting down our shop, or shutting down theirs. We're going to keep working on combining what they do well with what we do well."
Gibbs also commented on persistent rumors of negotiations with Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards, saying, "We get the most attention because we have an open spot. If other (teams) had spots, they'd all be in the rumor mill, too. The reality is that Carl is a gifted, talented driver. But you have to have all the parts; driver, crew chief, team and sponsorship. And that sponsorship piece is difficult to put together. From our standpoint, we are far from having any concrete decisions or directions. We have the availability to add a fourth car. We look at it each year and examine the possibilities. But we haven't been able to make it work." Gibbs said Joey Logano's job is secure, whether or not Edwards joins the JGR camp. "People in general just assume things," he said. "If we do a fourth car, it will be a great addition. For Joey, the key is that we finished last year so strong, but just haven't had that same consistency this year. We've had it the last few weeks, so that's encouraging for us and the whole (#20) team. He's young, but we have to perform. We all know that, and what we saw (out of Logano) last year is what we're starting to see again now. That's encouraging."(Sirius Speedway)(7-15-2011)
UPDATE 2: While there's talk in the garage that Joe Gibbs Racing might be getting rid of its engine program (and using Toyota's program, which supplies engines for its teams), here's what Joe Gibbs told [Dustin Long] after the race: "No truth to that at all,'' Gibbs said of talk JGR's engine shop was closing after this year. "We're not closing our motor shop at all. What we're doing is moving closer and closer to TRD (Toyota Racing Development) to run one motor. So far we've been running two different packages. Now we've been getting closer and closer as we go and doing more R&D. Now that we'll be fuel injection (in 2012), we'll be closer yet. So that's all it is. We're going to be doing the things that we've been doing well. Mark (Cronquist, who oversees the engine department at JGR) is going to be in charge of horsepower stuff. We'll be working together (with TRD) on our motor package.''(Virginian-Pilot)(7-18-2011)
JGR teams face penalties for oil pans UPDATE 3 - Penalties announced: The Joe Gibbs Racing teams of #18-Kyle Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Joey Logano all face possible penalties after an issue was discovered in inspection Friday morning at Michigan before practice began. John Darby, Cup series director, said that all three Gibbs cars had oil pans that had not been submitted for approval before competition. "We had them pull (those) off and put what we're accustomed to, what has been submitted back on their cars,'' Darby said. All three teams face possible penalties for the infraction. "Chances are great (a penalty) wouldn't involve points,'' Darby said.(Hampton Roads)(6-17-2011)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing had unapproved- and unusually heavy - oil pans seized from its three NASCAR Sprint Cup cars Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway. Officially, the issue was that the oil pans had not been submitted for approval by NASCAR, a standard procedure for the thousands of parts and pieces on race cars. But a bigger issue ultimately might be weight. While a standard NASCAR Sprint Cup oil pan weighs about 4 pounds, the three taken off the Gibbs cars weighed an estimated 20-30 pounds apiece. Competitors contacted by SPEED.com and FOXSports.com said the heavy oil pans would allow the teams to remove weight elsewhere in the car and put it low and on the front of the car, which could provide a handling advantage, perhaps a substantial one. Officials did not penalize JGR at the track but said in a statement, "NASCAR will discuss early next week if there will be any additional penalties assessed to these three teams."(SPEED)(6-18-2011)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced today that the #11, No. 18 and No. 20 teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have been penalized for rules violations discovered during opening day inspection June 17 at Michigan International Speedway. All three of the Joe Gibbs Racing cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in an event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-5.5.4A (oil pan, failure to submit component) of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book. As a result, the three crew chiefs – Mike Ford (#11 car), Dave Rogers (#18 car) and Greg Zipadelli (#20 car) have been fined $50,000 each and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. In addition, all three car chiefs – Chris Gillin (#11 car), Wesley Sherrill (#18 car) and Jason Shapiro (#20 car) along with Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jimmy Makar have been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(6-21-2011)
UPDATE 3 - Statement from JGR: "We received NASCAR's ruling today with regard to penalties for having oil pans on our cars that had not been submitted for approval prior to going through inspection on Friday. Although the parts were not illegal, we did not follow the proper submission for approval process. We will not appeal NASCAR's ruling."(JGR)(6-22-2011)
Winners not leading many laps: #11-Denny Hamlin led only eight laps in scoring the victory. This marks the sixth time that a driver has led fewer than 10 laps and won. Here's a look at how many times a driver led fewer than 10 laps and won in the past five seasons (remember there's still 21 races left this year).
2011 --- 6 times
2010 --- 4 times
2009 --- 4 times
2008 --- 2 times
2007 --- 8 times
Hamlin wins at Michigan: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of 2011 and 17th win of his career. He took the lead during the final pit stops of the race and held off #17-Matt Kenseth at the checkered flag.
Kenseth finished second, followed by #18-Busch, #27-Menard, #99-Edwards, #39-Newman, #14-Stewart, #33-Bowyer, #5-Martin, and #83-Vickers. Edwards expanded his point lead to 20. #29-Harvick is now in second after an early spin by #48-Johnson and a 27th place finish.
There were 21 lead changes among 12 drivers; 5 cautions for 18 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 88,000, down from 95,000 last June.
Scheduled Race Re-Air: SPEED, Wednesday, June 22 at 12:00pm/et
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Michigan Race Results/Awards page. (6-19-2011)
Hamlin's team repeats as Pit Crew Challenge champ: Denny Hamlin's #11 team successfully defended its title in NASCAR's Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday night, edging Jimmie Johnson's #48 team in the final round. Hamlin's seven-member team changed four tires, put in gas and pushed the car 40 yards in 22.298 seconds without collecting a penalty to earn $70,675. The crew now gets to select its pit stall Saturday for the All-Star race. Hamlin's team, which became the first repeat champion in the competition's seven seasons, included gas man Scott Wood; catch-can man Justin White; front tire changer Nick Krizmanich and carrier Brandon Pegram; rear tire changer Mike Hicks and carrier Heath Cherry; and jack man Nate Bolling. Clint Bowyer's #33 team and Tony Stewart's #14 crew combined to split all the individual awards - and rewrite the record book. They set event records based on their times in the seeding and opening rounds to collect $10,000 each. See more on my Pit Crew News / Awards page.(Associated Press)(5-19-2011)
Special scheme for Hamlin at Dover: the #11 Toyota of Denny Hamlin will carry a special FedEx Ground/Autism Speaks paint scheme throughout this weekend's racing activities. Helping raise awareness for Autism Speaks through the sponsorship of Sunday's race, FedEx will also donate $100,000 to the organization if Hamlin wins the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. The donation will be made in addition to the specially-priced pair of $111 race tickets that has proceeds going to Autism Speaks. The FedEx Ground Florida district is leading the company in package care metrics, and will be recognized with its "FLDA" code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground/Autism Speaks Toyota this weekend.(FedEx Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(5-13-2011)
Different look for Hamlin at Darlington: Sport Clips will serve as the primary sponsor for Denny Hamlin and the #11 Joe Giobbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Sport Clips is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas and has more than 750 Sport Clips locations in 38 states. Hamlin on Racing at Darlington: "It's exciting to have Sport Clips on board for the Cup race this weekend. We were able to get them to victory lane last week in the Nationwide Race in Richmond and hopefully we can match that success over on the Cup side this weekend. I know they are big race fans so it would be a thrill to give them that opportunity."(JGR)(5-5-2011)
Crew chief swap at Gibbs? UPDATE 2 - DENIED: supposedly a crew chief swap has been discussed and is imminent between the #11 and #20 Joe Gibbs Racing teams. The swap would send #11-Denny Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford to #20-Joey Logano with Logano's crew chief Greg Zippadelli to the #11 garage.
2011 has been a dismal year for Hamlin having scored just one top-10 finish through the first eight-races of the season. Logano is 66-points out of a playoff spot in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup. Expect to see the change within the next few weeks if not sooner.(Captain Thunder)(4-27-2011)
UPDATE: JGR spokesman says that reports of crew chief shuffle for Hamlin and Logano are false.(Bob Pockrass/SceneDaily Twitter)(4-28-2011)
UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin said rumors of a potential Joe Gibbs Racing crew-chief swap for them are not true. Both drivers, speaking Thursday before the Denny Hamlin Foundation Short-Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway, virtually laughed when asked about the rumors. Hamlin said he talked to team owner Joe Gibbs about the rumors Wednesday. Hamlin has worked with crew chief Mike Ford for his entire Sprint Cup Series career, which started with a handful of races in 2005. "It was news to me," Hamlin said. "The Coach [Gibbs] called me as soon as he saw it and I was like, 'Maybe I should be part of this decision.' "And he was like, 'There is no decision.' Mike is my guy. He will always be my guy." A JGR spokesman also denied that any swap was planned.(SceneDaily)(4-29-2011)
Denny Hamlin wins his own charity late model race: After a thunderstorm kept the crowd down for Denny Hamlin's charity race, the host put a move on Kyle Busch on the final lap and finally won his own event. Busch had dominated all night, but when the race went back to green after a caution with three laps to go, Hamlin surged from fourth to second right away, stalked his teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing and passed him on the backstretch when Busch ran out of fuel. "I'm glad he ran out of fuel because it might have got ugly," Hamlin said. "Trust me, if Kyle wouldn't have run out of gas, I would have done everything possible to get around him." Michael Waltrip finished second, followed by Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Frank Deiny Jr. Hamlin, who said last week that the race raised over $100,000 last year, said he will wait to see how much money was raised this year, then give 10% to help tornado victims. Where that money will go specifically will be determined by where there is the most need, he said. His usual charities -- the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, St. Jude Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital in Richmond -- will receive the other 90% of money raised. The victory was the first for Hamlin in his fourth Short Track Showdown, and came after he qualified on the pole, then opted to start at the back of the 36-car field. When it was over, he gave his racing helmet to a fan.(Associated Press)(4-29-2011)
Tire testing at Dover: hearing that #24-Jeff Gordon, #43-A.J. Allmendinger and #11-Denny Hamlin are Goodyear tire testing at Dover International Speedway, Tuesday, April 19th. Also Brett Moffit is testing his NASCAR K&N Pro Series car.(4-19-2011)
Drivers testing at Richmond for Denny Hamlin Showdown: Race fans in Richmond who can't wait for NASCAR to return are in luck. Several NASCAR drivers are making an early return to Richmond International Raceway this Wednesday, April 20, before the April 28-30 Spring NASCAR Race Weekend. They are testing in preparation for the Thursday, April 28 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Denny Hamlin, Hermie Sadler, Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell, Curtis Markham and Jason White are confirmed to hit the track Wednesday from noon to 6:00 p.m. Grandstands are free and open to the public by accessing Gate 70. The fourth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown makes its debut at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday, April 28. The race features many NASCAR drivers, including Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip, Joey Logano, Travis Pastrana and Trevor Bayne, battling with some of the best Late Model drivers in the area.(RIR)(4-19-2011)
Special Scheme for Hamlin at Talladega: The #11 Toyota will carry a special paint scheme for the second consecutive weekend, as the familiar black and blue FedEx Office colors turn blue and white to coincide with the "Print Big, Save Big" sale currently running at all FedEx Office locations. The Orlando South FedEx Office district is currently the best performing district in the "Print Big, Save Big" promotion and will have its "0110" numbers on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this weekend. (FedEx Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-13-2011)
Hamlin gets new front tire changer: From Friday's media availability at Texas:
Question: What are your thoughts on the recent pit crew change your team made?
Hamlin: "Everyone always says I'm critical, I just said that we stunk and we did. A lot of people say they stink at times, but it's something -- it's a shame but you have to make changes sometimes. Maybe it's not the talent level is not a question, I felt like that wasn't the question for us. You just sometimes have to make a change for chemistry sake. We had the same pit crew for the last two to three years and we've been up and down. At their best, they are the best, but it was trying to get to that point. We have changed a guy. We brought up (Nick Krizmanich, front tire changer), he's from the #11 Nationwide team, we're trying out him and one other guy and he kind of seemed a step above the rest. We're going to have a new aspect of our race team this weekend. I'm excited about it, it's a change and obviously it's going to take time for chemistry to kick in. Me and Mike (Ford, crew chief) talked about that. There's probably going to be stops throughout this weekend where it's not going to be the best but hopefully it's a step in the right direction for the long run."(Toyota PR)(4-9-2011)
March of Dimes scheme for Hamlin at Texas: FedEx and #11-Denny Hamlin annually team up with the March of Dimes and unveil a special paint scheme to raise awareness of the organization during a NASCAR race weekend. This year Dallas-based, seven-year-old twins Josh and Jake Aron, who were born premature, were chosen to design the paint scheme that Hamlin will run on his #11 FedEx Toyota for the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The twins flew to North Carolina to meet Hamlin and lay out their paint scheme for the team in March and now will get to see their artwork first hand. The twins, along with their father Jaime, will be on hand Thursday, April 7, at 11:30 am when the car is rolled off the team transporter in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Texas Motor Speedway.(TMS)(4-5-2011)
JGR pinpoints some engine issues: #18-Kyle Busch says Joe Gibbs Racing has determined that problems with two of its engines last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California were valve-related. #20-Joey Logano's team switched his the morning of Sunday's race when valve leakage was discovered. Logano's team didn't think the engine would last for 400 miles. #11-Denny Hamlin's engine failed 105 laps into the race due to an unrelated value train issue, leaving last year's Chase runner-up with a 39th-place finish that dropped him to 21st in points. Busch said Friday that identifying the problem is a huge step in the right direction for JGR, which has had engine issues in all five races this season. "Is there concern? Of course," Jimmy Makar, JGR's senior vice president of race operations, said earlier this week. "We've had a lot more issues than we'd like to see, this early in the season especially. Probably the bigger issue is for the most part they are non-related. That makes things harder to figure out. If you had the same thing happening over and over again you could focus on it." Makar said only Hamlin's failure on Sunday showed signs of a potential bad part. He said the batch that the part came from would be quarantined for this weekend's race at Martinsville to see if any issues arise.(Associated Press)(4-2-2011)
Gibbs working to identify cause of engine problems: Joe Gibbs Racing officials are scrambling to uncover the cause of an unusually high number of engine issues during the first five races of the Sprint Cup season. JGR had two issues this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California. The engine in #20-Joey Logano's Toyota had to be replaced on Saturday when valve leakage was discovered following the final practice. #11-Denny Hamlin's engine failed 105 laps into the race due to an unrelated value train issue. In all, JGR has had three engine failures in races and three more engines replaced prior to a race because problems arose. Last season, the organization had only two DNFs due to engine failure between Hamlin, Logano and #18-Kyle Busch. "Is there concern? Of course," said Jimmy Makar, JGR's senior vice president of race operations. "We've had a lot more issues than we'd like to see, this early in the season especially. Probably the bigger issue is for the most part they are non-related. That makes things harder to figure out. If you had the same thing happening over and over again you could focus on it." Makar said only Hamlin's failure on Sunday showed signs of a potential bad part. More alarming, Makar said there were very few changes made to the engines during the offseason. He said the organization purposely left things the way they were, with minor adjustments to improve fuel mileage that may have cost Hamlin the championship last season, before experimenting with new ideas.(ESPN.com)(3-29-2011)
Three drivers dominate the short tracks: With his win Sunday at Bristol, #18-Kyle Busch remained a part of an exclusive group. Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to have won the last 15 Sprint Cup races at Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond, the circuit's lone short tracks. The last driver other then those three to win on a short track was #99-Carl Edwards in 2008.(Sports Illustrated)(3-22-2011)
Driver agent creates own agency, takes some big names: Longtime NASCAR driver agent Rod Moskowitz is spinning off from Motorsports Management International to create his own agency by acquiring the contracts of top drivers #11-Denny Hamlin, #4-Kasey Kahne and #1-Jamie McMurray. The new agency, which will be known as Fuel Sports Management Group, will be run by Moskowitz, who worked for MMI for 11 years, and former Ray Evernham Motorsports executives Rick Russell and David Jessey. Evernham, who at one time considered buying MMI, will be an adviser and member of the board along with Jack Giarraputo, Adam Sandler's partner at Happy Madison Productions. MMI founder Cary Agajanian will continue to represent Tony Stewart and work in NASCAR, as well as drifting and other motorsports. He expects to maintain a close relationship with Fuel Sports Management.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(3-18-2011)
Hamlin's knee still recovering:#11-Denny Hamlin expects his left knee to be "aching for a while" since he never wants to slow down. "It still hasn't quit [aching]," Hamlin said Wednesday. "My problem is I never let myself heal all the way and, of course, I continue to push the limits as far as I can." Hamlin had surgery 11 months ago to repair the torn ACL in his knee, which he injured playing basketball before the 2010 season. Yet, it's still bothering him. That was evident during media day at Texas Motor Speedway, where he won both NASCAR Sprint Cup races last year. Hamlin rubbed the knee at times after moving between interviews in the large ballroom and getting up and down several times. "I was back playing a little bit of pickup basketball probably six, seven months after the surgery, when you really shouldn't even step on the court until a year after," Hamlin said. "I do everything I can to be competitive and try to rush the recovery process, and so I'm sure it's going to be aching for a while, at least until I give it a good few months rest."(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(3-3-2011)
Forbes names most valuable NASCAR teams & highest paid drivers: The weak economy has pummeled NASCAR over the past three years, with sponsorships, merchandise sales, race winnings and subsidies from automakers falling. Fans have tuned out, sending TV ratings down 24% since 2006 and leaving more than 40,000 empty seats at some races last year. One of its longest-tenured teams, Richard Petty Motorsports, was scrambling for cash on a week-to-week basis so it could race on weekends last fall. Is NASCAR headed for a full-blown meltdown? Hardly. Yes, the value of the top 10 teams slid 5% in 2010, on average, to $136 million by [Forbes] count, as prize money dropped and sponsors dialed back their commitment, but a rebound in 2011 for the sport is a strong possibility. NASCAR's strongest and most valuable team remains Hendrick Motorsports. With a valuation of $350 million on revenues of $177 million in 2010, Hendrick is worth 56% more than the next-highest-grossing team, Roush Fenway Racing, which [Forbes] value at $224 million on revenues of $140 million last year. Hendrick earned a NASCAR-high $18 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2010. Richard Childress Racing was third on the list, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. Rounding out the top 10: Stewart-Haas, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Red Bull Racing.
AND: Despite his lack of success in recent years on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR's highest-paid driver, earning $29 million in 2010 thanks to merchandise sales that are the best in the sport and reportedly account for one-third of all NASCAR licensed merchandise sales. Other income streams include a 10-figure annual salary from Hendrick and a 50% share of his $4.9 million in winnings and bonuses in 2010 from Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt also has a bevy of personal endorsements, including Chevrolet, Nationwide and Wrangler. Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon follows Earnhardt in the NASCAR money standings with earnings of $25 million last year. It is a clean sweep for Hendrick at the top with five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the third-highest-paid driver at $24 million. The rest of the top 10: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.(Forbes)(2-24-2011)
Hamlin and Michael Jordon team up: #11-Denny Hamlin announced Thursday he has a deal with Nike's Michael Jordan Brand. Jordan's famous "jumpman" logo will appear on Hamlin's firesuit, gloves and shoes. "It's a big deal for myself and really NASCAR," Hamlin said during the preseason media tour at Daytona International Speedway. "The Jordan Brand has never been in NASCAR before. It is a dream come true for me. To me the Jordan Brand represents excellence in sports." Hamlin and Jordan developed a relationship after the six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer took over as owner of the Charlotte Bobcats last year. What Hamlin didn't realize until recently was that Jordan is a motorsports fan. "He always talked to me last year about how the race went, because he watched the races," Hamlin said. "I never knew he really kept track of racing that much until I dug a little deeper and found he's had his motorcycle team since 2004. He's always been an avid motorsports fan. He just never knew the right situation to get into NASCAR, and he felt like I was the right representative for him." Said Jordan: "Denny's confidence and passion for racing along with his determination for excellence on the track make him a valuable addition to the Jordan Brand. We look forward to working with Denny as he continues to take his success to the next level."(ESPN.com)(2-11-2011)
Kyle Busch, Hamlin return as Gillette Young Guns: Gillette announced the launch of its expanded Gillette Young Guns program by unveiling the 2011 roster of six rising stars in their respective sports: Matt Ryan and Ray Rice from football, Evan Longoria and Carlos Gonzalez from baseball and Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch from auto racing. Gillette Young Guns is a sports marketing platform connecting Gillette's full line of grooming products with avid sports fans in North America. The program highlights up-and-coming stars and gives fans an in-depth look into the keys to their success both on and off the field. The Gillette Young Guns will appear in print and broadcast advertising, consumer promotions, point-of-sale materials, online and public relations activities.(Gillette PR)(1-3-2011)
Scheduled 2010 Sponsors/FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, OfficeFedEx Express - orange (10/11):
FedEx - Small Business (1):
New Hampshire - 9/19
FedEx - March of Dimes (1):
Phoenix - 4/10
Sports Clips (1):
Atlanta - 9/5
Hamlin gives away a trip on Twitter: #11-Denny Hamlin, normally a prolific Twitterer, went silent for weeks after the end of the season. But when he began re-engaging his 40,000-plus followers early in December, he came through big. Earlier in December, he casually mentioned that he'd be giving away an amazing gift on Christmas Day. All you had to do was answer a single question. Answer the question, and you get an all-expenses-paid trip anywhere you like. Hamlin used the hashtag #11in11 to sort the answers, and the game was so popular on Christmas Day that the tag was the No. 3 trending topic on Twitter. The winner was Jennifer Meyering, who was the 11th person to guess the correct answer of 364. According to her Twitter feed, she'll be heading to the Brickyard 400, where she'll presumably meet Santa Hamlin.(Yahoo)(12-28-2010)
#11 Pit Crew Wins the 2010 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Excellent pit stops can make or break a race and a season for a team. For Denny Hamlin and his #11 FexEx Toyota, his pit crew helped him gain a spot in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, challenge the front of the field throughout the season and finish second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
That's why Mechanix Wear is proud to announce that the #11 FedEx pit cre w from Joe Gibbs Racing is the winner of the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the 2010 season. This award is the only authentic competition voted on by crew chiefs. The #11 FedEx pit crew was selected for its fast pit stops, flawless performance and incredible effort over the 38-race season. The team also won the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the second quarter. The #11 FedEx pit crew travelled to Las Vegas to be honored at the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup celebration, where they took home the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew trophy and the $100,000 grand prize. Crew chief, Mike Ford of the #11 FedEx pit crew is proud of the impressive job his team did during the 2010 season.
"I'm proud of all of our guys for earning the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award," said Mike Ford, crew chief of the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 FedEx Toyota. "I had a great deal of confidence in our guys throughout the season and they certainly deserve a lot of credit for the success we experienced this year. NASCAR has a long season and everyone on our team puts in a tremendous amount of effort each week, so it's great to have them recognized with this well deserved award."
Michael Lepp, Athletic Director and Paul Alepa, Pit Crew Coach for the #11 FedEx team, offered their five tips for success as:
1. Preparation/Planning; 2. Deliberate Practice; 3. Focus; 4. Fitness; 5. Mental Toughness.
The members of the #11 FedEx pit crew include: Gas Man: Scott Wood; Jack Man: Nate Bolling; Catch Can: John Eicher; Front Tire Changer: Mike Hicks; Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram; Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman; Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry.(VMG/MXW)(12-3-2010)
Childress, Hamlin, Ford win Sporting News awards: Richard Childress, who oversaw a resurgence of Richard Childress Motorsports, is the Sporting News owner of the year, the magazine announced Wednesday.
Denny Hamlin is the 2010 Dale Earnhardt Tough Driver. The top driver and crew chief will be announced Thursday. All four awards were voted on by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners.
RCR made a remarkable turnaround in 2010. After all four of Childress' drivers missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2009, the organization consolidated to three teams this year with drivers Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer. All three qualified for the Chase, and Harvick was in contention for the Cup championship until the final lap at Homestead. Bowyer won two of the 10 Chase races, at New Hampshire and California.
Hamlin's peers pointed to his come back from knee surgery. A day after winning at Martinsville in March, Hamlin had surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee, which he had injured playing basketball in the offseason. Hamlin didn't miss a race after the operation. Instead, he drove through the pain and completed the next race on the schedule at Phoenix. The following week, he won at Texas and launched a title drive that fell just short. He won a season-high eight races and finished second to Jimmie Johnson in the standings.(Sporting News)
AND Denny Hamlin, who won a season-high eight races and fell just short of winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, is the Sporting News driver of the year, the magazine announced Thursday.
Mike Ford, Hamlin's crew chief, was voted the top crew chief. The voting was done by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners. Hamlin led Jimmie Johnson by 15 points going into the final race of the season but was unable to overcome a spin early in the Ford 400 and finished 14th in the race to Johnson's second. Hamlin finished second in the standings, his best finish in five full seasons. His eight wins doubled his career total. Hamlin's remarkable season was enhanced by his response to knee surgery after the sixth race of the season, which he won at Martinsville. He had surgery the next day to repair the ACL in his left knee, was back on the track for the next race and won the following week at Texas. Ford is the only crew chief Hamlin has known in the Cup series.(Sporting News)(12-2-2010)
Hamlin to make special delivery: Before hitting the track in Homestead, Points leader #11-Denny Hamlin will visit the visit the FedEx Express Miami Gateway at Miami International Airport, and join FedEx in making a special delivery to the American Red Cross, South Florida Region. The Miami Gateway serves as a primary distribution point for relief shipments bound for Haiti in response to the earthquake that struck earlier this year, and is currently managing shipments to Haiti in response to the recent Cholera outbreak. FedEx is again working with the American Red Cross to aid in the delivery of relief supplies and Hamlin will be in Miami to honor the ongoing relationship (FedEx Racing)(11-18-2010)
NASCAR does pre-inspection of Chase contenders: NASCAR has inspected the cars the three championship contenders plan to race in next week's season finale. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston says the cars for #48-Jimmie Johnson, #11-Denny Hamlin and #29-Kevin Harvick were inspected in the North Carolina research and development center this week. The cars were measured to make sure they fit the templates ahead of the Nov. 21 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR says it was a precautionary measure during the tightest Chase for the Sprint Cup championship since the format was introduced in 2004.(Associated Press)(11-12-2010)
Hamlin wins at Texas: #11-Denny Hamlin won the AAA 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 8th win of 2010 and the 16th win of his career, with the win Hamlin takes the points lead. #17-Kenseth finished second followed by #5-Martin, #20-Logano, #16-Biffle, #29-Harvick, #33-Bowyer, #6-Ragan, #48-Johnson and #98-Menard. #21-Trevor Bayne finished 17th in his Sprint Cup debut. Pole sitter #19-Sadler finished 23rd with no laps led.
A couple of 'interesting' incidents during the race included #18-Kyle Busch getting held and penalized 2 laps for "unsportsmanlike conduct" after making an "inappropriate gesture" when he was penalized for speeding exiting pit road and brought in for a penalty around lap 146. Another one was when #24-Gordon & #31-Burton wrecked during the yellow on lap 192 when Burton got into Gordon, both drivers got out of their cars, Gordon bypassed his ambulance and approached Burton and pushed Burton and they kind of got in to some fisticuffs on the backstretch before getting separated by track workers. Burton afterwards took blame for the incident, said he couldn't see well with the sun and glare and got into Gordon's car, causing both th hit the wall.
After Gordon was taken out of the race, his crew was sent to the #48-Johnson pits to 'assist' as the #48 pit crew has been losing spots each pit stop.
There were 33 lead changes among 13 drivers and 9 cautions for 40 yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 156,000, last year the attendence was 167,000.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs are ESPN2, Sunday, November 8 at 2:30am/et; and SPEED, November 10 at 12:00pm/et.
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Texas Race Results/Awards page.(11-7-2010)
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-7-2010)
#11 team chose pit stall in front of the #48 team: An intriguing subplot to today's race [at Texas Motor Speedway] is that title contenders #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin will pit next to each other. Johnson leads Hamlin by 14 points. Typically, title contenders don't pit around each other, in part because those cars often finish on the lead lap so one could always be fighting the other for space on pit road. Pit stalls are picked in the order a driver qualifies. Johnson qualified 17th, so his team selected its stall before Denny Hamlin's team since Hamlin qualified 30th. By pitting in front of Johnson, Hamlin's team can dictate, in a way, how well Johnson gets off pit road. Hamlin could stop short in his pit box, meaning the car's rear is close to the front of Johnson's pit box. That would force Johnson to pit short or have to back up and lose time to get around Hamlin. Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford said the stall in front of Johnson's was the best remaining because #82-Scott Speed, who has struggled at times this season, has the stall in front of where Hamlin pits. Ford also admits that when Johnson's team picked to pit in front of Hamlin's crew at Kansas earlier in the Chase that rankled him. "Why this is a topic when the exact same thing happened at Kansas and there were a lot better pit stalls to be had by those guys?'' Ford said Saturday. "That was a deliberate stab. This was not a deliberate stab, but with that, OK, courtesy is out the window.''(Roanoke Times)(11-7-2010)
Win 195 for #11: #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Tums Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway was car #11's 195th win in the Sprint Cup Series. Second all-time in Sprint Cup Series history for a car number. #43, which has 198 wins in 2278 Sprint Cup races is the leader, 3rd is the #3 at 97 wins. See more on my Wins by Car Number page.(10-26-2010)
Hamlin wins at Martinsville: Pole sitter #11-Denny Hamlin won the TUMS Fast Relief 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 7th win of 2010 and the 15th win of his career. #5-Martin [who wrecked and got the lucky dog late in the race] finished second followed by #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #48-Johnson, #20-Logano, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #99-Edwards, #31-Burton [who led the most laps] and #12-Keselowski [first top 10 of 2010].
There were 24 lead changes among 12 drivers and 15 cautions for 90 yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 56,000 down from 2009 which was 64,000.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs are ESPN2, Sunday, October 25 at 2:00am/et; and SPEED, October 27 at 12:00pm/et.
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Martinsville Race Results/Awards page
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(10-24-2010)
Hamlin/Harvick make up: Sprint Cup points leader #11-Denny Hamlin and #29-Kevin Harvick have made peace. Hamlin said during a Tuesday news conference promoting the October race at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he and the Richard Childress Racing driver talked on the phone and settled the issues that transpired last weekend at Dover. "We came to really quick terms that our friendship is solid," said Hamlin, noting Harvick is probably his closest friend away from the track. "Regardless of what happens on the racetrack, our friendship goes further than that. We do a lot for each other off the track and I feel that goes a long way." It wasn't that way Saturday at Dover International Speedway. Harvick was angered by things Hamlin said about the RCR team of Clint Bowyer that was fined 150 championship points last week after NASCAR determined Bowyer's winning car at New Hampshire violated tolerances. "We talked and everything is good with us," Hamlin said. Hamlin admitted he may have said too much during his Friday news conference when he attacked Bowyer's team. He said the plan entering the media center was to avoid questions about the situation, but when told Bowyer referred to his car and Johnson's having to go through post-race height inspection twice the previous week at New Hampshire, Hamlin threw caution to the wind. Hamlin said he knew when he left the interview that he'd stirred things up. He wasn't surprised when Gibbs and team president J.D. Gibbs called to tell him he said too much. "It is hard for me not to say what's on my mind at times," Hamlin said. "Joe kind of explained that to me. Not everybody needs to hear what you have to say when you think things are going wrong. I kind of understand that." Hamlin said Joe and J.D. Gibbs were calm. Crew chief Mike Ford, who called his remarks against Bowyer's team "stupid," was not. "Mike wasn't laughing at all," Hamlin said. "Obviously, he's a deflection type guy. He figures we have enough within that race team as far as what we need to do to stay focused to win a championship. We don't need to make our jobs any harder. He told me we made our jobs harder, and I definitely can't disagree with that."(ESPN.com)(9-29-2010)
Harvick, Hamlin exchange words Saturday morning: #29-Kevin Harvick showed he had his teammate's back by damaging #11-Denny Hamlin's rear. After Hamlin bumped Harvick on the track, the top two points leaders were involved in a heated and profane exchange in the garage, sparking some life into the first practice Saturday at Dover International Speedway. The dustup came a day after Hamlin blasted Clint Bowyer, saying Harvick's RCR teammate was making excuses for why his winning car at New Hampshire failed a follow-up inspection. Harvick appeared to stick up for Bowyer not with words, but with force. Hamlin knew he'd be a target when he said Harvick's crew made sarcastic comments toward him before practice. Hamlin, who said he expected retaliation for his antagonistic criticism, said Harvick also got into the #11 Toyota on pit road. Hamlin and Harvick made contact during the opening laps of practice, with Harvick damaging the right rear of Hamlin's No. 11 car. Once the drivers returned to the garage, they got into each other's faces before they were separated. Tempers quickly flared again and they went back to yelling at each other before they were broken up for good.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(9-25-2010)
#11 car to feature Small Business scheme: The #11 FedEx Small Business Toyota of Denny Hamlin will carry the company logos of three small business customers this weekend for the start of the 2010 Chase at New Hampshire. The three small business customers, TMRacewear.com (Irwindale, Calif), Prologic Fullfillment (Salt Lake City, Utah) and MyGearStore.com (Los Alamitos, Calif.) will be represented on the car's rear quarter panels and on the rear TV panel, respectively. The small businesses earned the positions on the car through the FedEx Race Time promotion – which allowed FedEx small business customers the opportunity to earn points through shipping and/or FedEx Office purchases, then bid in various auctions for race-themed prizes including the chance to be on the #11 FedEx Toyota.(FedExRacing). See an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(9-15-2010)
Hamlin wins at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Air Guard 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway for his 6th win of 2010 and 14th of his career. #18-Busch finished second followed by #48-Johnson, #20-Logano, #47-Ambrose, #33-Bowyer, #42-Montoya, #43-Allmendinger, #29-Harvick and #99-Edwards [pole sitter]. #16-Biffle finished 32nd, down 5 laps, but clinched a spot in the Chase and with #33-Bowyer's 6th place finish, he is the final driver in the Chase. The 1-2-4 finish by the three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers was the 9th time JGR teammates have finished 1-2 and the first time all three were in the top-5.
There were 14 lead changes among 6 drivers and only 3 cautions for 28 yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 95,000, down from last years 109,000 but the track removed around 14,000 seats since last year.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs are ESPN2, Sunday, September 12 at 3:30am; and SPEED, Wednesday, September 15 at 12:00pm/et.
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Atlanta Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(9-11-2010)
New look for Hamlin's #11 at Atlanta IMAGE: Sport Clips will serve as the primary sponsor of Denny Hamlin's #11 Toyota this weekend at Atlanta. It is the first time the long-time Joe Gibbs Racing partner in the Nationwide Series has sponsored a Sprint Cup Car. Sport Clips is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas with more than 700 Sport Clips locations in 38 states. The franchise ranked in the top 100 overall and top 50 in growth for the sixth straight year in Entrepreneur Magazine's "Franchise 500."(JGR), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(8-31-2010)
Joe Gibbs Racing Launches New App For Mobile Devices: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that it has launched Joe Gibbs Racing iCrew, a new application for mobile devices that will allow fans to follow all news related to the team's NASCAR and Motocross operations. The new app allows JGR fans to follow all the latest news, information and special features with ease from wherever they might be. JGR fans will now have the ability to receive instant notifications on qualifying and race results, as well as breaking news, special events, and contests. In addition, content includes exclusive JGR and JGRMX photographs, videos, and features. The app also allows fan interaction syncing comments through Twitter and Facebook accounts. Joe Gibbs Racing iCrew is available for free in the Android Market and the App Store.(JGR PR)(8-12-2010)
Hamlin on Twitter less after fine: #11-Denny Hamlin admits he's not commenting as often on Twitter after being fined an undisclosed amount by NASCAR recently for comments series officials felt were hurtful to the sport. Said Hamlin: "I'd say half of the time I was on (Twitter discussing NASCAR stuff and whatnot. They really don't want me going there, so I'm not going to go there. It's just one of those things. I'm still part of that stuff, but obviously with getting a fine and everything, you've got to be a little bit more careful."(Hampton Roads)(8-6-2010)
Twitter comment cost Hamlin?: During a press conference Friday in front of the #11 hauler, Denny Hamlin admitted he was one of the drivers fined in secret by NASCAR over the past few months. While not directly admitting the incident or that the amount was $50,000, as has been reported, he inferred the fine revolved around a Twitter conversation he'd had with someone after the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland. "More than likely, it was the Twitter comments that kind of got me in trouble with them," he said. "Chicago weekend, talking about some of the Nationwide stuff, but most of those conversations were all direct messages to one person."
"Anybody that follows me on Twitter knows I'm opinionated, and that's what people follow me for, is just for the quotes here or there." SI.com has since confirmed the context of that Twitter conversation, a suggestion the racing "was fixed," is what got Denny Hamlin fined. It was a public exchange between Hamlin and SB Nation's Jeff Gluck, a blogger, reprinted below: (Twitter names are @dennyhamlin and @jeff_gluck, respectively)(Sports Illustrated)(7-31-2010)
MAF Honors NASCAR Teams' Response to Haiti Quake: In the aftermath of the catastrophic Jan. 12, 7.0 earthquake that destroyed the capital of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, two renowned NASCAR auto racing teams shuttled relief workers and supplies into Haiti and transported evacuees, rotating workers and quake victims to the United States. This week at their respective shops in North Carolina, MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) President John Boyd presented Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing with special service awards for their work in Haiti.
In the crucial days following one of the world's greatest disasters, the teams generously provided aircraft from their fleets. The Hendrick and Gibbs crews worked with MFI (Missionary Flights International) and MAF to shuttle planes between Fort Pierce, Fla., and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, enabling the rotation of high-impact volunteer medical teams and humanitarian workers. The planes also evacuated adopted orphans to their American homes. In addition, the aviation crews offered care, personal concern and warm fellowship to the MAF missionary pilots and ground workers as they toiled amid heat, chaos, suffering and death.
"With these awards, we at MAF want to express our sincere gratitude to Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing for their support of the MAF team in Haiti," Boyd said. "We honor two fine motorsports teams for their selfless actions, and for the special blessing they were to us during a very trying time." Boyd also invited the two teams' aviation staffs to participate in one of the MAF advanced mountain training workshops at the ministry's headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.
MAF has served the missionary community and the people of Haiti since 1986. Eight MAF missionary families and seven Haitian staff members provide air service with three bush aircraft that fly to 16 remote airstrips from Port-au-Prince. Within the first three months of its disaster relief efforts, MAF had partnered with dozens of relief agencies, including the United Nations. In addition to having coordinated the flights of 3,500 international passengers and 1.5 million pounds of cargo between Florida and Port-au-Prince, MAF logged 1,037 flights within Haiti, transported 1,801 relief workers, missionaries, patients and medical staff in and out of inland towns and villages urgently needing help, and delivered 315,498 pounds of urgent relief and medical cargo. MAF continues its disaster response work in Haiti, having now shifted from the crisis-relief phase to a rebuilding stage that is expected to last several years.(MAF PR)(7-29-2010)
Report: NASCAR fines unnamed drivers for comments - UPDATE 2: NASCAR has fined at least two of its star drivers this season for making critical comments about the racing series, The Associated Press has learned. People familiar with the penalties told the AP the comments were considered disparaging to the sport. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR is not publicly identifying the topflight drivers it fined. They say one driver was penalized as much as $50,000. The decision to fine competitors for critical comments puts NASCAR in line with many other professional sports leagues. The NFL and NBA both routinely issue fines for criticism of officiating. It also backs up NASCAR's season-long campaign to rebuild the slumping sport through an improved on-track product and off-track promotion from its drivers.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(7-26-2010)
UPDATE: The Associated Press has learned that NASCAR warned teams during the offseason that public criticism of the sport would no longer be tolerated, and at least two star drivers have been fined-one as much as $50,000-for comments that were deemed destructive to the industry. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston on Monday night confirmed some action had been taken, but would not discuss details. "It is the sanctioning body's obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport's brand," Poston said. "Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion-it's focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport. We have specifically discussed this in meetings with teams, drivers and stakeholders." Drivers all declined to publicly discuss the policy, but it shouldn't come as any surprise-considering NASCAR's heightened effort this year to re-ignite interest in a sport that's been fighting sagging attendance, declining television ratings and overall fan apathy for several seasons. NASCAR has taken several aggressive steps toward improving the on-track product, but its top brass decided that outstanding events aren't enough to overcome the negative perception created every time a driver publicly blasts the series. (Associated Press)(7-27-2010)
UPDATE: #39-Ryan Newman and #11-Denny Hamlin were the two Sprint Cup drivers fined by NASCAR for making disparaging comments about the series, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Neither driver could be reached for comment. Newman was fined first and Hamlin second, the sources said. The sources would not confirm which statements made by the drivers were responsible for the fines, but both drivers have been outspoken on several issues.(7-29-2010)
Hamlin is 2nd quarter driver of the year: It was virtually no contest as Denny Hamlin was voted second quarter winner of the Driver Of The Year Award. Hamlin bounced back from knee surgery about one month before the second quarter began, and won three NASCAR Sprint Cup races and one NASCAR Nationwide series race in the period ending June 20th. Driving the #11 FedEx Toyota owned by Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin was awarded the honor for the first time in his career. Hamlin had victories in the Showtime Southern 500, Pocono 500, and Heluva Good! Sour Dips 400. And, he won from the pole at Royal Purple 200 Nationwide race in the #20 Z-Line Designs Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin took 12 first-place votes which was six times his closest competition; teammate, #18-Kyle Busch. Hamlin's scored 122 points according to the Driver Of The Year points system compared to Busch's 56 points. Dario Franchitti, the Indy 500 winner who drives the Target Chip Ganassi IndyCar, also had one first place vote and received 54 points. Mike Edwards the NHRA's ProStock driver, also received one first place ballot finishing fifth, behind Larry Dixon in the Top Fuel division.(Racin' Today)(7-25-2010)
#11 Team Tops On Pit Road In Second Quarter: The #11 FedEx Toyota team for Joe Gibbs Racing has earned second-quarter honors in the 2010 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award competition for its pit road performance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Denny Hamlin and the #11 team have scored a series-leading five wins this season and are currently fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. And while Hamlin is turning fast laps behind the wheel, crew chief Mike Ford's group has been on its game as well, performing consistent, quick pit stops all year. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, determined by a vote of each team's crew chief, is given quarterly to the top-performing pit crew in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award presented during Champion's Week in Las Vegas.
Members of the #11 FedEx Toyota pit crew include: Mike Hicks (front-tire changer), Brandon Pegram (front-tire carrier), Jonathan Sherman (rear-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Nate Bolling (jackman), Scott Wood (gasman) and John Eicher (catch can). The team's athletic director is Mike Lepp.
The #11 pit crew will be presented the second-quarter Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award Sunday during pre-race ceremonies prior to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(NASCAR)(7-21-2010)
JGR and NASA: Joe Gibbs Racing [#11-Hamlin, #18-Busch & #20-Logano] recently used the 3-mile runway NASA utilizes for its space shuttle program to run its car up and down to gather information about aerodynamics. The team basically driver Matt DiBenedetto, a development driver at JGR, run the car to 205 mph on the landing strip, coast to about 150 mph and then run it back up to 205 mph, doing this three times before turning around and coming back and doing the same thing. Such straight-line testing is common in NASCAR. Teams go to various places to do this but going to NASA's runaway is unique.(Virginian Pilot)(7-15-2010)
Gibbs and family selected as 2nd quarter Spirit Award Winner: Members of the National Motorsports Press Association selected J.D. Gibbs and his family as the second quarter winner of the NMPA Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership.
Gibbs and his family were selected for hosting Taylor's Finish Line Festival in May. The festival was held to celebrate the end cancer treatments for Gibbs' 5-year-old son, Taylor. Proceeds benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western, N.C., and the Levine Children's Hospital of Charlotte. More than $600,000 was raised at the event, attended by more than 5,000 people.
Also receiving votes were: Drs. Joseph and Rose Mattioli for contributions to support trauma care at Lehigh Valley Health Network; employees of Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines for delivering and distributing cleaning supplies to Nashville, Tenn., residents affected by the flooding there; Tony Stewart for his annual Prelude to the Dream charity dirt late model race; and Kyle Petty for his annual charity motorcycle ride across the country. Bobby Hutchens, competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing, won the award in the first quarter.(JGR)(7-8-2010)
Tire test at Bristol: NASCAR drivers #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #11-Denny Hamlin, #82-Scott Speed and #6-David Ragan participated in a Goodyear tire test Tuesday at Bristol Motor Speedway in preparation for the August NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race.(BMS)(6-30-2010)
Hamlin & Salvation Army: #11-Denny Hamlin will join representatives from FedEx, the Salvation Army of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, for the donation of a Disaster Relief Unit on Thursday, June 24 at Boston City Hall Plaza.(FedEx Racing)(6-24-2010)
Hamlin doesn't back off :on comments about cautions #11-Denny Hamlin maintained his belief that NASCAR throws debris cautions when it wants at times, echoing similar statements after last weekend's win at Michigan. Hamlin was asked on Friday at Infineon Raceway about any feedback he had heard from his comments last week about how he expected a debris caution late in that race (as he held a 10-second lead) and how he understood it was best for the fans to have the field closer. Here's what Hamlin said Friday: "At no point was I the one to get pissed off about that caution because I knew it was going to happen,'' Hamlin said. "Legitimate or not, the odds are that we were going to have some non-wreck caution in the last half of the race. Pocono it was the same way (the last of 3 debris cautions in the race came 25 laps from the end), we had a long green flag spell and I knew it was going to be a matter of time before we see a caution for one reason or another. I think there's always debris around the track. Without a doubt you can call anything debris. I can look out right now and I can see debris pretty close to the race track (as he looked out the window to the track). You can say that's a legitimate safety hazard. I think it's the timing there. It is right there. Let's pick it up to tighten things up. Let's regroup. For the sake of show, it's OK but the sake of competition it's not always the right thing. I think if we weren't talking about that last week, if NASCAR would have let it go,then people were going to be talking about a boring race. That's something that we don't need right now.''(Virginian Pilot)(6-19-2010)
Hamlin joins a list:of winners #11-Denny Hamlin's win at Michigan, is his 5th in the first 15 races of the season. This is the 16th time in NASCAR's modern era (since 1972) that a driver has won five of the first 15 Sprint Cup series races in a season. All but one of those drivers (David Pearson in 1973, when he didn't run the full schedule) went on to finish in the top three in points. Hamlin joins this list of drivers with five wins in the first 15 races: Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Richard Petty.(ESPN)(6-16-2010)
Denny Hamlin wins Michigan: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 5th win of 2010 [leads in wins], 1st at Michigan, 2nd in a row and 13th win of his career. #9-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #24-Gordon. #14-Stewart, #48-Johnson [still has not won a race at MIS], #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #16-Biffle and #20-Logano. Points leader #29-Harvick finished 19th and maintains the points lead over #18-Busch, now up to a 22 point lead. #18-Busch, who had to start at the rear after an engine change, finished 20th.
There were 18 lead changes among 9 drivers and only 4 cautions for 14 yellow flag laps. The attendence was reported at 95,000, up from 90,000 last year
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Michigan Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(6-13-2010)
Denny Hamlin wins Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 4th win of 2010 [leads in wins] and 12th win of his career. #18-Busch finished 2nd, followed by #14-Stewart, #29-Harvick, #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #31-Burton, #42-Montoya, #33-Bowyer and #43-Allmendinger. Points leader #29-Harvick maintains the points lead over #18-Busch, but down to 19 point lead. #24-Gordon finished 32nd after getting involved in a big wreck during the green-white-checkered finish when #9-Kahne got in the grass trying to pass #43-Allmendinger, the #9 got in the grass and shot back up the treack headfirst in the wall, then turned around by #5-Martin and #56-Truex, with the #9 sliding on the outside wall a bit before returning to the track and getting smacked by the #24 car. Hamlin did a heck of a burn-out, but lost it at the end and nosed into the outside wall, doing damage to the car, which he then droove to victory lane.
There were 14 lead changes among 7 drivers and 8 cautions for 27 yellow flag laps. The attendence was reported at 140,000, down from 160,000 last year
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Pocono Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(6-6-2010)
Kyle Busch says he and Hamlin have moved on UPDATE maybe not? #18-Kyle Busch says he is not taking back radio chatter in which he threatened to kill JGR teammate #11-Denny Hamlin after some hard driving in the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch insisted Thursday that he and Hamlin have moved on from last week's incident. Hamlin was leading late in the race when he blocked Busch's run. The defensive driving caused Busch to hit the wall, and he later got a flat tire that led to a race-ending wreck. Busch was so angry afterward, he warned his team he was going to kill Hamlin. Busch went directly to Hamlin's hauler after his accident, and team owner Joe Gibbs mediated a post-race meeting with his drivers. Busch says his threat was out of anger, but not literal, and he's moved past the incident.(Associated Press)(5-27-2010)
Hamlin comments: Denny Hamlin didn't just throw Kyle Busch under the bus Thursday, he ran over him with it. "For me, I'm over the Denny Hamlin issue," Busch said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he made his first public comments on the issue. "It's done, we're moving forward and we look forward to the rest of the year and the [Coca-Cola] 600 this weekend." Hamlin, however, was considerably more blunt when discussing his feelings towards his teammate. "I definitely wouldn't change anything that I would do and nobody in my position would," said Hamlin. "I challenge anyone to be in that position and to change the way that I drove. The thing is that he [Busch] was never there, there was never a hole for his car to fit in, so he has a gas pedal and a brake just like I do. He could choose to check up and pass me in the next corner or put his car in the fence like what happened." And from there, he was off and running. Asked if he'd work with Busch, Hamlin indicated his displeasure with his hot-tempered teammate. "I'm not going to put too much effort in it, to be honest with you," Hamlin said. "Kyle brings this stuff up himself and he gets mad at the media for asking him questions about his blow-ups and stuff, but he does it to himself. I don't want to be part of it. Any drama that he wants to create or anything is on him. Anything he says on the radio is on him. [That's] all I'm going to say and I'm going to be done with it. Each year I think Kyle's going to grow out of it and he just doesn't. Until he puts it all together, that's when he'll become a champion. Right now he just doesn't have himself all together." And then, for good measure, this little bon mot: "I didn't say that I was going to take over this team or be the leader of this team, but somebody's got to be the leader—it ain't going to be Kyle."(Ford Racing)(5-30-2010)
Hamlin talks about incident with Kyle Busch: Joe Gibbs Racing teammates #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-Kyle Busch were battling for the lead late in the Sprint All-Star Race, Hamlin used defensive driving to protect his lead, Busch didn't have room on the outside and slammed into the all, pushing in his right front fender that would later cut down a tire and end the night for Busch [and #9-Kahne], Busch was so angry he threatened to kill Hamlin over his team radio and camped out in the #11 hauler, waiting for Hamlin....so
. Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, answers questions in this Toyota PR/quotes
What happened between yourself and Kyle Busch on the race track? "First he (Kyle Busch) got a big run off the corner and I was clear getting into the corner. Basically I just throttled up extremely early and really it was a bad corner. He was going to go by me. He kind of went to the bottom and then went up high it looked like. Of course, I'm looking out my front windshield and he says I'm clear so I'm going to use all the race track I can. The problem is that Kyle had a run to the outside and with me moving up and getting real tight, it then took some air away from the front of his car and he slid up into the wall. It's tough for me. We talked about it and basically Kyle was just frustrated, he felt like he had a really good car. Me, I just came from the back with no practice and got back to the front where we needed to be and I felt like if I gave up the lead right there then I was going to give up the win. I don't think Kyle would do anything different if he was in my situation. It's just when you're the leader, my feeling is that you've got the whole race track. If a guy is to the outside then that's when you need to hold your line."
What was the conversation between yourself, Kyle Busch, Joe and J.D. Gibbs? "It's a good conversation to have. Me and Tony (Stewart) has had this same conversation and it was under a little different circumstance, but this is a good problem to have for our team. For two guys to be wanting to go for the win like they are, that's all we can ask for. Myself, I'm so confident that one of the two of us are going to win that 600 next weekend, it was a good meeting. Kyle (Busch) was fiery at the beginning, but calmed right down at the end. I think it's just kind of his personality and me, I'm a little more reserved and kind of quiet about it. I think it's just two teammates that happen to be teammates going for a race win right there."
What are your thoughts on Kyle Busch's comments about you on the team radio? "That's Kyle in the moment and he's said worse things about me for sure at other times. I told him my job as the leader is to do everything I can to win that race. This race in specific is a much different beast than what a points race is and I think he understands that. From my standpoint, we're going to drive each other different, no doubt about it. We've seen it in years past, guys suck each other around, guys running each other up the race track, but I felt like if Kyle had position on the outside, then I definitely should have given him the lane. I just basically took the air off and like he said, he was just dumb and didn't check up. It's just one of those things. The air is so important that if you've got the lead then it's extremely hard for anyone to get around you and we just flat over-adjusted our race car and we got it way off right there. I felt like if we couldn't get the win, then I probably should have just moved over and let him go because it looked like he had a race winning car. That is the only thing I fault myself is not understanding my race car that time."
How will you and Kyle Busch move forward from this? "We don't need to let it affect these team guys. They work with each other inside the race shop and the important thing for me is that everyone gets along. Right now, everything is going good between the 11 and the 18 (Kyle Busch) on the race track, we're both battling for race wins each and every week. This is like the fifth of sixth time that we've been beside each other with less than 10 (laps) to go and this is not going to be the last time. What's good is that we have an understanding of how we race each other. One thing that we do realize too is this individual race here is a different beast so the racing of each other is always going to be a little different."(Toyota)(5-23-2010)
Denny Hamlin wins at Darlington: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Showtime Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway for his 3rd race of 2010 and 11th of his career. He also won the Nationwide race Friday night. It was his first weekend sweep in Nationwide and Cup. Pole sitter #1-Jamie McMurray finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #24-Gordon, #42-Montoya, #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #31-Burton, #39-Newman, and #83-Vickers. Harvick extended his points lead to 110 over #48-Johnson, who was involved in a wreck with #43-Allmendinger midway through the race and finished 36th. There were 20 lead changes among 11 drivers and 11 cautions for 56 yellow flag laps.
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Darlington Race Results/Awards page
See Drivers Championship Points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(5-8-2010)
Latest on Hamlin's Knee: From #11-Denny Hamlins driver diary at USA Today: "Knee surgery was more than a month ago, but I still am going to rehabilitation almost every day if I'm in town. It's going well, but the recovery is so slow is what's frustrating. It's not like anything else. You can break a bone or sprain something, and it can get better in a couple of weeks. This is a long, long process of putting in a whole bunch of work, and I wish the results were faster. The rehab mostly involves squats and stuff to try to get the quad and calves strong again. They get very weak being laid up, and they don't fire as well anymore, which in turn gives you more knee pain. So I'm doing the normal leg exercises that anyone would do to build muscle. It's better every week, for sure, but not 50% better, it's 10% or 5% better. It's about a six-month recovery, and we're a month into it. The doctors have said we're ahead of schedule. I still can't run, and that's the biggest limiting factor. I can't get the cardio exercise as I'd like, so that part also is a bear to deal with. I can get to where I'm on the elliptical machine now and can make some rotations. Within a week, I figure I'll be back to some sort of cardio, but nothing sports-related. The biggest thing I hear from people who do this in sports all the time is part of the depression that athletes face is not being able to go to the gym and do things as they did before. We live in the gym and live to play sports and do stuff like this. Being told to sit on the couch to recover is tough to deal with.(USA Today)(5-7-2010)
FedEx plans to continue sponsorship of JGR: FedEx, which announced Monday it has dropped its 20-year sponsorship of the Orange Bowl, does not have plans to do the same with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin, according to a FedEx executive. Although no formal announcement has been made of an extension with JGR beyond 2010, FedEx Sports Marketing Manager Katherine Flee indicated Monday night that Hamlin and JGR are in good shape for next year and beyond. "While we have recently decided to end our relationship with the Bowl Championship Series and the Orange Bowl, FedEx remains committed to its long-term relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and our sponsorship of Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 car," Flee said in an e-mail. "We are looking forward to running for our fifth-consecutive Chase for the championship [this year]." Joe Gibbs Racing is planning on FedEx continuing as the Hamlin sponsor.(Scene Daily)(5-4-2010)
Falk wins Denny Hamlin's 250-lap charity race: Denny Hamlin has the household name, a multimillion-dollar contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and 10 career victories on NASCAR's top touring series. C.E. Falk III is a 22-year-old Norfolk native who's two weeks shy of graduating from Charlotte. Falk has racing in his blood, though, and the son of former Busch Series driver Eddie Falk wasn't about to back down when he got a rare opportunity to trade sheet metal with Hamlin last night at Southside Speedway. Falk qualified third behind local favorite Hamlin and Tony Stewart for the third annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, a 250-lap Late Model race to benefit Hamlin's charitable foundation. Stewart was second, followed by Eddie Johnson. Hamlin settled for a disappointing fourth-place finish after dominating the race.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-1-2010)
Hamlin wins at Texas: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Samsung Mobile 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway taking the lead with 12 laps to go after a mutli-car wreck caused a 19:13 red flag. It is Hamlin's 2nd win of 2010, 1st at Texas and 10th of his career. Hamlin is the 16th driver to win a Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. #48-Johnson was coming fast towards the end and finished 2nd, followed by #18-Busch, #2-Busch, #9-Kahne, #5-Martin, #29-Harvick, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #56-Truex Jr. and #16-Biffle. Only 13 cars finished on the lead lap after a late multi-car wreck late in the race took out #24-Gordon who led 124 laps and pole sitter #14-Stewart who led 74 laps, who finished 31st and 32nd respectfully. #48-Johnson increased his points lead to 108 points over #17-Kenseth. The top five drivers in points stay the same. There were 7 cautions for 32 laps [16:50 under caution], a red flag for 20:28 and 29 lead changes among 12 drivers.
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Texas Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(4-19-2010)
Gibbs could not commit to fourth Cup team: Joe Gibbs wouldn’t get into the reasons, but he said Friday night that it just wasn’t feasible for JGR to currently commit to a fourth Sprint Cup team when he was asked about Kasey Kahne signing with Hendrick Motorsports. Gibbs thinks that Kahne knows where he’s racing in 2011 even though Hendrick announced Wednesday that his plans for 2011 are uncertain before he takes over the #5 car in 2012. “I am going to have to say he’s not in limbo,” Gibbs said prior to being inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. “I would say there’s been a decision made of what’s going to happen there.” The decision doesn’t include JGR, which had made a strong run at Kahne but couldn’t get the package done before Kahne made the decision to sign with Hendrick. “It’s extremely hard to put together something where you’re trying to put together right sponsor, right driver,” Gibbs said. “That’s part of life in what you do here. You try to craft things as best you can for your race team. We’ve probably been the most cautious of adding a fourth team among the big teams.”(SceneDaily)(4-19-2010)
Hamlin expects to run full race at Texas: from a FedEx Racing PR, #11-Denny Hamlin discusses his surgerically repaired knee and his plans:
Will a full race and few more days of rest under your belt – how is your knee feeling?: “It’s feeling much better really. It’s still sore and I have a long way to go but I am definitely making progress. I went from Phoenix to Los Angeles for a commercial shoot but I have been able to keep working on my rehab and I don’t see any reason that I will have trouble with my knee by the time we get to Texas. Unlike Phoenix where we had to use a ton of brake, Texas is much different so I will be in the car and expect to go the full distance just as I did at Phoenix last weekend.”
Lots of people are asking why you didn’t take the opportunity to jump out at Phoenix?: “I definitely thought about it, especially when we went down a couple of laps and we knew it would be hard to get them back, but I never want to give up on anything and I wasn’t going to give up on the team on Saturday night. They worked hard to get that car ready for me, they were patient with me and I owe to it to them to give it my best effort. That’s as true when you are running up front as it is when you are struggling. It was actually an easy decision from the seat.”
Looking at the season as a whole – and knee injury aside – how are you feeling about 2010 so far?: “Still a long way to go so nothing really to worry about. My knee will only get stronger and the same can be said for our team. We are generally slow starters but we’ve had some awful luck so far this season and that’s hurt us when we had some good runs going. We are still in contention so once we hit stride I think we’ll be fine. This team is committed to working through these issues and getting back to being consistent – something we’ve always been and that’s why we have been in the Chase every year. We know what we have to do to get back to that.”(FedEx Racing)(4-16-2010)
Hamlin uncertain if he can run entire race: UPDATES: #11-Denny Hamlin, who had surgery nine days ago to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, said he is uncertain if he can drive the entire race Saturday after experiencing significant pain and discomfort in practice Friday. "I don't know how far I can go," Hamlin said. "It aches quite a bit and the range of motion is a problem. If I had to do it today there is no way I could do it." he said. Casey Mears will replace Hamlin if Hamlin has to get out of the #11 Toyota. A driver must start the race to earn the points for that event. "There's a lot of fluid build-up on the knee right now," Hamlin said. "The doctors are going to insert a needle in the morning and drain all the fluid. They also are going to take the stitches out, so I might have a little more mobility." Hamlin said he hopes to make a decision early in the race about whether to get out of the car. "If we do it, we need to do it early," Hamlin said. "I'll start thinking about it at 50 or 60 laps. My goal is to know what I'm going to do before Lap 100 [in the 375-lap race]. There's no reason to abort it if I make it that far. It hurts worse when I stop than when I'm going."(ESPN.com)(4-9-2010)
UPDATE: Interviewed on SPEED's Race Day, Hamlin said he has not determined if he will try to run the entire race. He will see how he feels once the race gets underway but try to make a decision by lap 50.(4-10-2010)
UPDATE 2: Hamlin stayed in the car for the entire race.(4-10-2010)
Hamlin uncertain if he can run entire race: #11-Denny Hamlin, who had surgery nine days ago to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, said he is uncertain if he can drive the entire race Saturday after experiencing significant pain and discomfort in practice Friday. "I don't know how far I can go," Hamlin said. "It aches quite a bit and the range of motion is a problem. If I had to do it today there is no way I could do it." he said. Casey Mears will replace Hamlin if Hamlin has to get out of the #11 Toyota. A driver must start the race to earn the points for that event. "There's a lot of fluid build-up on the knee right now," Hamlin said. "The doctors are going to insert a needle in the morning and drain all the fluid. They also are going to take the stitches out, so I might have a little more mobility." Hamlin said he hopes to make a decision early in the race about whether to get out of the car. "If we do it, we need to do it early," Hamlin said. "I'll start thinking about it at 50 or 60 laps. My goal is to know what I'm going to do before Lap 100 [in the 375-lap race]. There's no reason to abort it if I make it that far. It hurts worse when I stop than when I'm going."(ESPN.com)(4-9-2010)
Hamlin's rehab on schedule, expects to race Saturday: UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin's rehabilitation of his left knee, which underwent surgery a week ago to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, remains on schedule and should allow him to compete in Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. "It's painful, as anyone who has had this surgery or any similar surgery can tell you, but I am working hard to get back my full range of motion and get back to where I need to be," Hamlin said in a news release. Dr. Patrick Connor of OrthoCarolina in Charlotte performed the surgery last Wednesday. Dr. Bill Heisel, who assisted in the procedure, told ESPN.com the knee should be "pretty normal" by the time Hamlin got to Phoenix. Heisel added that Hamlin shouldn't be restricted from using his left leg to clutch or brake as long as there was no abnormal swelling. Casey Mears is on standby in case Hamlin has to come out of the car. Hamlin, who is 15th in points after his win at Martinsville before the Easter break, is expected at the very least to start the race in order to collect full points for the finish.(ESPN.com)(4-7-2010)
UPDATE: How long Denny Hamlin stays in his race car during this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway will be left up to him, according to the physician's assistant that is overseeing Hamlin's rehabilitation from recent knee surgery. "I'm optimistic that he's going to be able to run at the very least some laps," Bill Heisel of OrthoCarolina said Wednesday. "I anticipate that he will have some soreness and he will have some swelling. It's just a matter of seeing how many laps he's able to run." Heisel, a physician's assistant who helped with the surgery and is overseeing Hamlin's rehab, is scheduled to be in Phoenix on race day to assist Hamlin and the team, and to address any issues that might arise. Hamlin was scheduled to work with the team Wednesday to practice getting into and out of his car.(Scene Daily)(4-8-2010)
Hamlin to have knee surgery on Wed UPDATE 2 surgery done: Surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in #11-Denny Hamlin's left knee will not limit the Sprint Cup driver behind the wheel for the next race, according to one of the doctors that will perform the operation on Wednesday. "I anticipate by the time he gets to Phoenix [April 8-10] he'll have a pretty normal knee for all intents and purposes," said Dr. Bill Heisel, who will assist Dr. Patrick Connor of OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, N.C. Heisel said the winner of Monday's race at Martinsville Speedway may be in some pain or discomfort for a few weeks after the surgery, but added that range of motion to use the brake or clutch won't be impacted. "He's going to feel something, even at Phoenix," Heisel said. "The big thing is to control the swelling to get the motion going. Straight ahead he should be pretty good. Obviously, what you don't want him to do is wreck the car. But I anticipate he's going to be able to clutch and brake pretty quickly." Heisel said the procedure will involve making tunnels through Hamlin's shin bone and thigh bone to pass the tendons from a cadaver into place and lock each end with a screw. He said physical therapy will begin immediately to improve mobility and strengthen the quadriceps, and that Hamlin will have to wear a brace for a while when not in the car. "He'll be back running in three months," Heisel said. Surgery was delayed until Wednesday after Sunday's race was rained out.(ESPN)(3-30-2010)
UPDATE: Hamlin will only need clearance from his doctor to resume competing in NASCAR, according to officials with the sanctioning body. “He only needs to be cleared by his doctor, he needs for him to say it’s OK for him to return … that he’s good [to go],” NASCAR’s Ramsey Poston, managing director, corporate communications, said Tuesday. While Poston said there’s no formal paperwork that must be submitted, such as copies of Hamlin’s medical records, the sanctioning body could request such records if there was a concern. That typically isn’t the case, Poston said. As far as the use of painkillers or other medicine following surgery, Poston said “that’s part of the conversation we have with any driver. Any misuse is a violation … it’s pretty standard.” Poston said it is unlikely officials would be concerned about Hamlin’s ability to compete when he does return to the track. “We’ve had drivers [compete with] a whole lot worse than ACL [injuries],” he said. Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina will perform the surgery [today].(SceneDaily)(3-31-2010)
UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, had successful surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee this morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina. Hamlin injured the knee in January prior to the start of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He is expected to make a full recovery and will be in Phoenix as scheduled for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 10. JGR will have driver Casey Mears on standby should Hamlin experience any complications while driving in the race and need to be replaced in the car. "Denny had his surgery this morning and everything went well," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "He will start rehab immediately and now we can concentrate on getting his knee back to the full strength. The doctors tell us it will improve with each passing week and that he cannot damage it by driving. We expect him to be in the car in Phoenix, but we're fortunate to have Casey Mears standing by in case he would need to come out of the car for any reason."(JGR)(3-31-2010)
Mears to sub for Hamlin if needed, may return to the #90 team: Casey Mears was selected Saturday to sub for #11-Denny Hamlin while he recovers from ACL surgery. It’s a deal that came together in just a few days, but one Mears knows could relaunch a fledgling Cup career after going 1-for-6 in making races with underfunded Keyed-Up Motorsports – a deal that ended with a DNQ Friday. “It’s just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” he said. “It’s one of those deals where I could just be sitting on the pit box if Denny feels pretty good, but if he doesn’t it’s just a great opportunity to possibly get in a good car.” It’s also a chance to pair with an organization that would one day like to expand to four teams. “You see him in passing, and it’s hi, hello, but I’ve never really spoken with those guys,” he said. “So it’s an opportunity for me to just kind of get to know those guys a little bit, and you never know what the future holds.” Hamlin had high praise for Mears in his press conference Saturday morning, calling him “the best option to get a good finish” of all the drivers available in case he falters. If Hamlin’s pain is overwhelming, the plan would be to run to the first caution, then have Mears take over for as many races as possible until his recovery’s complete. “I think it means a lot to think your peers think of you that way,” he claimed. “I think that hopefully if I can get in there, I can do a good job for them, and keep them in the running for where they want to be.” In the meantime, Mears’ relationship with Keyed-Up is expected to continue once his subbing is complete. He claims owner Raymond Key will run in the interim, although no driver has been selected to sub for him in the #90 Chevy as of yet. “I still want to run with those guys some more,” he said. “Hopefully, I can get through this year and get something going rolling positive for 2011.”(Frontstretch)(3-27-2010)
Hamlin to have surgery, sub not named UPDATE Mears: #11-Denny Hamlin will have reconstructive surgery on his left knee Monday, sources close to the driver and Joe Gibbs Racing told ESPN.com. Hamlin, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in December playing pickup basketball, planned to wait until the end of the 2010 season to repair it. But growing fear of long term damage forced his hand, sources said. Sources said Hamlin plans to start every race and doesn't expect to miss any competition, but plans to have a driver on standby for several races just in case. Sources are uncertain at this time whom that driver would be. Per NASCAR rules, the driver that takes the green flag in the car earns the championship points for that race, even if he gets out prematurely. Hamlin's ability to drive the #11 Toyota is more about his pain tolerance than anything else, sources said. Strength-wise he should be fine. If he can handle the pain, he can race, the sources said. Hamlin, widely considered the biggest threat to upend Jimmie Johnson's championship stranglehold, has begun slowly in 2010. He is 19th in the point standings and has yet to earn a top-10 finish in the season's first five events.(ESPN)(3-27-2010)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will undergo surgery on Monday, March 29 to repair the ACL in his left knee. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina. Hamlin injured the knee in January prior to the start of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. “When we first reviewed the situation we thought Denny couldn’t do any further damage to his knee if he waited to have surgery, but as the season progressed we determined that the best plan of action was to go ahead and have it repaired,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Hopefully this will take care of the situation and he should get stronger each week.” Hamlin is expected to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix on April 10.(JGR)
MEARs could sub: Hamlin said driver Casey Mears has been hired as his standby in case he needs a substitute or an in-race replacement during the recovery period. Hamlin said he hopes he won’t miss any races and that the recovery period will be over by the fall, when he hopes to be competing in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He is currently 19th in points. Hamlin said he will be on crutches at least until practice for the Phoenix race begins. “From there, we’ll just kind of see where our range of motion is and things like that,” he said. “As long as they can just pry me in that seat, they’ll have a tough time prying me out.” Hamlin had planned to have the surgery at the end of the season, but continuing problems with the knee forced a change, he said. “We were doing some further damage to the knee, and, to me, it’s not something that’s worth suffering forever or having a permanent limp or anything like that,” he said. “It just didn’t make much sense. The goal right now is to go ahead and get it done on Monday – as soon as I can early Monday morning. “Right now, he (surgeon Dr. Patrick Connor) says that I’ll be able to get in the car at Phoenix. There’s no doubt that I’ll be able to get in it. It’s just tolerance of pain is what’s going to be the limiting factor.” Depending on the speed of the recovery, Hamlin said it’s possible that he could start several races and allow Mears to replace him during the event. A driver must start a race to earn points in the driver standings for that event.(SPEED)(3-27-2010)
Hamlin & March of Dimes team up again: FedEx Racing and March of Dimes Team up for Babies: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs and representatives from FedEx Office and the March of Dimes will unveil a special #11 March of Dimes/FedEx Office Toyota on Thursday, March 25 at the Joe Gibbs Racing shop in Huntersville. The car will run at Phoenix International Raceway in effort to raise awareness for the March of Dimes and March for Babies fundraising walks.(FexExRacing)(3-25-2010)
UPDATE: FedEx Racing driver Denny Hamlin will drive a special #11 FedEx Office/March for Babies Toyota in the "SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600" at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, April 10, 2010 in effort to rev up the revenue for the March of Dimes and give every baby a healthy start in life. "This is the third year in a row that I raced the March for Babies car at the Phoenix Raceway," said Hamlin. "Last year we placed sixth and I'm hoping this year we'll win! I want to do everything I can to help raise awareness for the amazing work the March of Dimes does so that more babies are born healthy." The #11 FedEx Office/March for Babies® Toyota was unveiled today during a ceremony at Joe Gibbs Racing Inc. in Huntersville, N.C. Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs were on hand to reveal the special paint scheme for the Phoenix Cup race. During the race, Hamlin also will wear a helmet designed by Morgan, Preston and Chase Copeland. The triplets are the children of FedEx Office employee Alan Copeland and were born seven weeks premature in 2005. Today, their dad says, Morgan, Preston and Chase are healthy, active four-year-olds thanks to the March of Dimes-funded treatments and the medical care they received.(JGR), see image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(3-25-2010)
Denny Hamlin tears ACL: UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin, widely considered Jimmie Johnson's top threat in 2010, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee [clutch foot] Friday playing pickup basketball. Hamlin said he still expects to compete, but surgery isn't an option at this time since the Sprint Cup season begins in two weeks. He plans to have surgery to repair the knee after the 2010 season. A team spokesman said the injury should not affect Hamlin's ability to drive the car. "I planted my foot to make a move toward the basket, and my knee just shot directly out to the left," Hamlin said. On Dec. 16, Hamlin had surgery on his right knee to repair the meniscus [also from basketball].(ESPN)(1-24-2010)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin shouldn’t have too much trouble driving a race car despite a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, according to JGR President J.D. Gibbs and doctors familiar with ACL injuries. Hamlin, 29, uses his left foot to brake as well as to control the clutch in his #11 Toyota. “In essence, it’s not that big a deal given what drivers normally have to do in the car,” said ESPN analyst Dr. Jerry Punch, a former emergency-room physician. “No two people are the same in terms of how much instability they have when they tear an ACL. Typically, somebody that is Denny’s age, young and in great physical shape, can rehab that knee without having it operated on.” The ACL keeps the lower part of the leg from moving forward when a person stops running. Starting and stopping quickly would make the knee feel unstable. It doesn’t have to do with rotation or side-to-side movement, Punch said, and the pedals could be adjusted to make it more comfortable. Reconstructive ACL surgery requires six to 10 weeks of immobility, and that’s why Hamlin plans to wait until after the season is over, Punch said. He could have arthroscopic surgery to clean out the injured area and that would require only 10 days of being off his feet, but Gibbs said that no surgery is planned.(Scene Daily)(1-27-2010)
TV Special to go behind the scenes at JGR: Beginning Jan. 24, NASCAR fans will be given unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to one of the sport’s most successful teams as it prepares for the season-opening Daytona 500. SPEED and IMG Sports Media are working together on a series of four one-hour specials featuring Joe Gibbs Racing and giving fans a unique perspective of what it takes to be ready to perform in The Daytona 500. JGR’s Countdown to the Daytona 500 will take viewers to previously restricted areas, including wind tunnel testing, the engine department and team plane.(SPEEDtv)(1-12-2010)
Scheduled Sponsors/FedEx Paint Schemes for 2009:, runs Express, Ground, Freight, OfficeFedEx Express (?):
Looks like Farm Bureau Insurance sponsorship is done: in a recent newsletter from Farm Bureau Insurance, it was posted: As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season comes to a close, so does Farm Bureau Insurance’s sponsorship relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing. We want to thank Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and David Gilliland, and all of our loyal fans and customers for your support. Sponsoring a JGR car in six races: Darlington, Atlanta (2nd), Charlotte (2nd), Martinsville (2nd), Texas (2nd) and Homestead. Once again, all of us at Farm Bureau Insurance would like to thank our fans. It was great seeing you at the track, and it has been a truly rewarding experience working with the professional and dedicated team at Joe Gibbs Racing in both the 2008 and 2009 sponsorships of the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup series. This will be the last corespondence from Farm Bureau Insurance Racing.(farmbureauinsuranceracing.com)(12-10-2009)
Rusty Wallace forms alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing: Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing announced the formation of a technical alliance between the two teams, under which JGR will provide RWR with technical support for the development of NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry race cars. In the last two Nationwide Series seasons, RWR has fielded a pair of Chevy Impalas and in 2009 was the only team with multiple drivers among the top-ten in the year-end driver standings. For the 2010 season, the team will campaign factory-backed Toyota Camrys, with engines provided by Triad Racing Development. Stated RWR team owner, Rusty Wallace, “We’re excited about working with J.D. (Gibbs) and his guys; they’ve built a very solid Nationwide Series program over the past several seasons. Between all of the support that we’re receiving from Toyota and this new partnership, I feel that 2010 will be a strong year for our team.” Regarding the partnership, JGR President J.D. Gibbs noted, “We’re looking forward to working with Rusty and his team at RWR. We’re excited to have them join the Toyota camp next year in the Nationwide Series and we look forward to providing assistance to their program as well.”(RWR PR)(12-14-2009)
Hamlin surgery pushed back: #11-Denny Hamlin had minor knee surgery planned for the end of this season, but delayed the procedure after booking a suite with a basketball court inside of it for his stay in Las Vegas. Since arriving Tuesday evening, Hamlin said he and his friends have gotten in at least three games a day on the court. His surgery will be Dec. 16. "I moved my surgery back because I had this reserved for the last two months," he said. "It was scheduled for last week, and I thought there would be no point in it. I moved my surgery back to accommodate my hotel room in Vegas, so I'm trying to get all the ball in that I can since I'm going to be out for a month."(Associated Press)
AND Also in regards to Hamlin, he gave out four tickets for each race to this season. All fans had to do was go to his website and explain why they should get his tickets for a particular race. Hamlin said the web site got more than 20,000 entries. He said he will continue to offer tickets to fans again next year. He also says that some tracks are joining in and matching or adding to Hamlin’s gift to fans.(Virginian Pilot)(12-4-2009)
Hamlin's crew wins Tissot award in Homestead: In Sunday's (Nov. 22) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Denny Hamlin's #11 crew won the Tissot competition. The effort by the #11 FedEx crew played a key role in Hamlin's fourth race victory of the season. Hamlin's #11 Joe Gibbs Racing crew consists of: Jonathan Sherman (front-tire changer), Brandon Pegram (front-tire carrier), Mike Hicks (rear-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Nate Bolling (jackman), Scott Wood (gasman), John Eicher (catch can) and Bobby “Spike” Christenson (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coach is Paul Alepa. The athletic director for Joe Gibbs Racing is Michael Lepp. The Tissot Pit Road Precision Award went to the team which spent the least amount of time on pit road and finished on the lead lap in each of the 36 Sprint Cup point races. The winning team earned $5,000 and a Tissot watch for each race.(Tissot), see past Tissot award winners and season standings on my 2009 Pit Crew News page.(11-27-2009)
Win 188 for #11: with #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it was car #11's 188 win in the Sprint Cup Series, only 10 wins behind the #43, which has 198. See more on my Wins by Car Number page.(11-23-2009)
Hamlin wins at Homestead: #11-Denny Hamlin won the FORD 400 Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 4th win of the season and 8th of his career. It is the first win for Toyota at Homestead. Hamlin started 38th, the farthest a driver has started and won at Homestead. #31-Burton finished 2nd [for the 2nd race in a row] followed by #29-Harvick, #2-Busch, #48-Johnson [the 2009 Sprint Cup Champion], #24-Gordon, #99-Edwards, #18-Busch, #1-Truex Jr. and #44-Allmendinger. Johnson wins his 4th NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in a row, the first driver ever to so in NASCAR's 61 year history. Johnson was presented a check by Sprint for $6,520,800. Rick Hendrick becomes the first owner to finish 1-2-3 in the final Cup standings with Johnson, Martin and Gordon finishing 1-2-3.
There were 7 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps and 18 lead changes among 10 drivers.
For race results, awards and more, see my Homestead Race Results Page.
For the drivers points standings, see my Drivers Points Standings.(11-22-2009)
Hamlin to have knee surgery: #11-Denny Hamlin will have arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday [Dec 9th, after the banquet] to repair some minor damage to his right knee, he said Friday. Hamlin was originally scheduled to have the surgery during an off week this summer but elected to postpone it until after the season. “There’s tears in there,” he said. “[The surgery is to] basically scope it out. I just have problems with it when I get out of the car, it really is stiff and the joints really hurt, so it’s something that needs to be done for the long run.”(SceneDaily)(11-21-2009)
Gibbs has no plans to return to Redskins: Hall of Fame former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said Sunday he has no plans to return to the struggling team. Gibbs laughed when asked at Martinsville Speedway about rumors and Internet reports that he could return to the team as an adviser or even general manager. "That's what it is. Talk," the owner of three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams said. "Right here's where I'm GMing."(Associated Press)(10-25-2009)
Hamlin subbing for Busch in Truck race: Denny Hamlin will take to the track in the #51 Miccosukee Resort/Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra at Martinsville Speedway Saturday, October 24, 2009 in the running of the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Kyle “Rowdy” Busch, who has typically piloted the Billy Ballew Motorsports entry at companion races, will be at Memphis Motorsports Park with the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Busch leads the Nationwide Series Driver Points Championship. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin will step-in for Busch and pilot the Billy Ballew Motorsports NASCAR Camping World truck at Martinsville, Virginia track for the first time since the spring 2008 event. In his last appearance for Ballew in 2008, Hamlin led 64 laps but was caught-up in an on track incident causing rear end damage relegating him to a 21st-place finish. Hamlin has three career Camping World Truck Series starts at Martinsville, posting a best finish of eighth-place in 2006.(Billy Ballew Motorsports)(10-19-2009)
Are NASCAR Drivers smarter than a 5th grader?: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy hosts the all-new half-hour version of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" The fast-paced game show, where knowledge of grade-school level questions is tested, welcomes NASCAR drivers #55-Michael Waltrip, #6-David Ragan, #99-Carl Edwards, #2-Kurt Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. On October 6, Michael Waltrip will be in the classroom to play the game to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. He’ll also be joined by Roush Racing’s David Ragan. The special back-to-back episodes will premiere on MyNetworkTV (8:00pm/et/pt). On October 26, NASCAR week kicks off on the new nationally-syndicated edition of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin are among the contestants playing the game for their charities. Check your local listings for exact air time.(10-5-2009)
FedEx Racing Races to Prepare in Philadelphia: FedEx Racing, sponsor of Denny Hamlin's #11 Toyota, will join the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania this week, welcoming Philadelphia-area students on Thursday for the Race to Prepare, an event that stresses disaster preparedness through the building of a disaster kit and preparedness education. As part of the company’s commitment to supporting disaster preparedness and relief efforts around the world, and in celebration of the long-term relationship with the organization, FedEx will be making a donation to the local American Red Cross chapter.(FedEx Racing)(9-24-2009)
Hamlin runs over foot of #07 crew member UPDATE: during 2nd caution pit satops of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, #11-Hamlin ran over the foot of Clint Pittman, the rear tire changer for #07-Mears. Pittman went to the Infield Care Center for Xrays.(9-20-2009)
UPDATE: Clint Pittman, rear tire changer on the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy of Casey Mears, was clipped by #11-Denny Hamlin during pit stops on Lap 69. Pittman injured his foot and was replaced by Shane Church, who practices with the backup crew at Richard Childress Racing. Mears restarted 27th following the accident and remained outside the top 25 until a call to stay out on Lap 193 by crew chief Todd Berrier. Mears restarted sixth and finished 13th, his third top 15 finish in the last six races. Pittman will see an orthopedic doctor on Monday. Doctors at the track infield care center suspected a small fracture to the top of his foot, according to RCR pit crew coordinator Matt Clark.(FoxSports)(9-21-2009)
Hamlin runs over foot of #07 crew member: during 2nd caution pit satops of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, #11-Hamlin ran over the foot of Clint Pittman, the rear tire changer for #07-Mears. Pittman went to the Infield Care Center for Xrays.(9-20-2009)
Special scheme for #11 Hauler: The world's biggest FedEx box? The Joe Gibbs Racing hauler that ferries driver #11-Denny Hamlin's Toyota from shop to track has a new look. The trailer's been wrapped to resemble one of the sponsor's distinct packages. It's a Chase-only endeavor.(SceneDaily)(9-20-2009)
Joe Gibbs Racing wins 75th Sprint Cup Series race: With the victory by #11-Denny Hamlin on his hometrack of Richmond International Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has now totaled 75 victories in NASCAR’s elite racing series. Joe Gibbs Racing, founded by Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs in 1992, claimed its first victory on NASCAR’s biggest stage when Dale Jarrett captured the checkered flag at the 1993 Daytona 500. Since then JGR has gone on to win 74 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (previously Winston Cup Series). “We’re proud to have earned our 75th victory today,” said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. “We have been blessed with dedicated and talented employees as well as outstanding partners and sponsors. When you look back at our 75 victories you realize how fortunate we have been to have such talented drivers and crew chiefs, but the reality is it takes a lot of people working together to be successful in this sport,” added Gibbs. “A big part of the credit belongs to the guys in the shop working long hours preparing our cars for the track and our crews that travel each week to put it all together. JGR’s 75 wins have also helped the multi-car race team capture three NASCAR Cup Series Championships (2000, 2002, and 2005). The team record for wins in a season is 10, which has been done twice, both in 2008 (Kyle Busch 8, Denny Hamlin 1, and Tony Stewart 1) and in 2000 (Stewart 6, Bobby Labonte 4). JGR has seven victories thus far in 2009. In addition to the Cup Series, JGR has now captured 37 NASCAR Nationwide Series victories earning its first Owner’s Championship in that series in 2008.
The list of JGR’s Cup victories by driver:
Tony Stewart (#20).................. 33 Bobby Labonte (#18)............... 21 Kyle Busch (#18).................... 12 Denny Hamlin (#11).................. 6 Dale Jarrett (#18)...................... 2 Joey Logano (#20).................... 1 Total JGR NASCAR Cup Wins.. 75.(JGR)(9-13-2009)
Hamlin wins at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Race for his 1st win at Richmond [his home track], 2nd win of 2009 and 6th of his career. #2-Busch finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #5-Martin, #18-Busch, #33-Bowyer, #83-Vickers, #77-Hornish Jr., #29-Harvick and #39-Newman. Points leader #14-Stewart finished 17th. #17-Kenseth finished 25th and fell out of the top 12 and for the first time since The Chase started in 2004, Kenseth will not be in The Chase. #83-Vickers got in to the Chase, beating #18-Busch by 8 points. There were 10 cautions for 56 caution laps and there were 16 lead changes among 5 drivers.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs: ESPN2: Sunday, September 13 at 3:30am/et; ESPN Classic: Sunday, September 13 at 11:00am/et; SPEED, Wednesday, September 16 at 12:00pm/et.
For race results, awards and more, see my Richmond Race Results Page
For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(9-12-2009)
Farm Bureau Insurance to be back on the #11: Farm Bureau Insurance Racing will be back on the track this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, for the PepBoys Auto 500. Farm Bureau Insurance will again serve as the primary sponsor for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin. In May, Denny made the debut of the Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota at Darlington Raceway - finishing 13th. Denny Hamlin currently ranks 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points and is coming off a strong run a few weeks ago at Bristol, where he finished 5th.(Farm Bureau Insurance Racing), see images of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(9-4-2009)
Hamlin surprised about Reutimann's comments: #00-David Reutimann said Wednesday he was not ready to forgive #11-Denny Hamlin for the accident at Pocono Raceway that essentially ended his championship hopes. That, apparently was news to Hamlin. "I was surprised," Hamlin said Friday at Watkins Glen International. "We actually talked that night and he seemed fine. He didn't say that he was angry or anything. I've been in that situation before where you're battling for a Chase spot. It's not always about one race. There's a lot of races that lead up to it. I'm apologetic about it for sure. It's something that I didn't mean to do, but you can't put the blame all on me if he doesn't make the Chase."(ESPN/AP)(8-8-2009)
Reutimann still miffed at Hamlin over Pocono wreck: #00-David Reutimann doesn't buy the explanation #11-Denny Hamlin gave for the wreck in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono that may also have wrecked his chances of making the Chase. Reutimann said he never brake-checked Hamlin, as the eventual race winner claimed occurred prior to the accident on Lap 174 that not only took out Reutimann but also Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #47-Marcos Ambrose. He said Hamlin basically ran over him in an effort to get position. "I was just trying to get away from him," Reutimann said on Wednesday. "In the end, if you push a guy sideways enough he's not going to be able to bring it back. I didn't hear [his] explanation, but I can tell you it's pretty inaccurate. I was in the throttle all the time to the point I was hung out so far I kind of had to do something." Reutimann went on to say he was as "mad as heck" at Hamlin, even though the two have exchanged text messages in which Hamlin apologized. "If a guy says he's sorry I tend to believe it," Reutimann said. "Look back at Daytona at what I did to Ryan Newman. Everybody's capable of making mistakes. I'm a forgiving guy if he sincerely apologizes or says he was in the wrong. In the end I'm still confused at why it happened. It wasn't just one shot. It was multiple shots." Reutimann entered the race in 13th place in points, 68 out of the top 12 who would qualify for the Chase. He was in position to possibly move into the top 12 with a solid finish after having run up front most of the day. The wreck left him 16th in points, 121 off the cutoff point, after finishing 29th.(ESPN)(8-6-2009)
Mike Ford Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Pocono: Mike Ford, crew chief for the #11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. After waiting through the rain delay on Sunday and fighting emotions all weekend, Hamlin and his #11 team started the race on Monday with great optimism. Despite fighting an ill-handling race car throughout practice on Saturday, Hamlin and Ford knew they had made the right changes for a good shot at the win. A strong car kept Hamlin at the front of the field for most of the day, and after the last round of pit stops under caution with 20 to go, he found himself just outside the top five on the last restart. At that point, Hamlin knew he had the car to win and with encouragement from his crew chief over the radio, found the speed to take the lead with just nine laps to go. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season's end.(Wypall)(8-4-2009)
Hamlin wins at Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the rain delayed/postponed Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his third win at Pocono Raceway, his first win in 2009 and first in 50 races, since Martinsville in March 2008 and Hamlin's 5th career win. #42-Montoya finished 2nd for his first top-five of 2009, #33-Bowyer was third, followed by #77-Hornish Jr. [his career best finish and first ever top-five of his career], #9-Kahne, #83-Vickers, #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch and #14-Stewart [was in a backup car the had to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race]. #48-Johnson had engine problems was down as many as three laps, the crew fixed the problem (spark plugs) and Johnson was able to use FOUR Lucky Dog - lap back passes, to finish 13th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. has an ill-handling car and finished 28th. Stewart now leads Johnson on the points standing by 197 points. The spread between 12th (the final chase spot) and 13th is now 101 points with #16-Biffle in 12th and #18-Busch in 13th. There were 10 cautions for 39 caution laps and there were 17 lead changes among 12 drivers.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
ESPN2, Monday, August 3 at 9:00pm/et;
SPEED, Wednesday, August 5 at 12:00pm/et.
For race results, awards and more, see my Pocono Race Results Page.
For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-3-2009)
Sad News - Thelma Clark: Condolences go out to Denny Hamlin and his family in the passing of his grandma. Thelma Clark, 91, of Tampa, FL passed away Friday, July 31. A Memorial Mass will take place at St. Patrick's Catholic Church (date to be determined). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 5100 W. Kennedy Blvd Suite 195, Tampa, FL 33609.(Dennyhamlin.com)(8-1-2009)
Ganassi to Gibbs? UPDATE denied: The latest rumor is that Chip Ganassi somehow will merge his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team [Chevy's w/#1-Truex Jr. (leaves end of 2009) and #42-Montoya] with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota's w/#18-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #20-Logano], possibly eliminating another owner.(SPEEDtv/Jimmy Spencer)(7-23-2009)