Denny Hamlin Talladega victory lane quotes

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

How did you pull this win off today?

“Just a lot of attrition. We just played the strategy and the numbers game to run in the back until we were locked in. Just things worked out. We finally got one back. This one was unexpected to say the least, but proud of this whole FedEx team, Toyota and everyone at JGR for bringing great race cars. Today we’re obviously thinking about JJ Damato (JGR executive) and his two kids. Really excited about this win. This was unexpected for sure.”

Were you aware that you went below the yellow line and were you forced there?

“They were crashing in front of us. Obviously, I got forced down there just like the 21 (Matt DiBenedetto) and others did. There were a bunch of us that all crashed down there.”

What does it mean to tie total number of wins with Bill Elliott?

“So much. He (Bill Elliott) was my childhood hero growing up. That’s why I’ve always been No. 11 to be honest is because of the days when he was running for Junior Johnson. Just an amazing day.”

What happened in those final laps to get you to victory lane?

“A lot of stuff happened for sure. I don’t know if the 21 (Matt DiBenedetto) was running out of gas, but they obviously got shuffled there. They were crashing up top. I think the 20 (Erik Jones) hit the wall and then started coming back down, which forced I think me and the 24 (William Byron) down to the apron. Just was able to overcome. This is one of those that you don’t plan on winning, but we got away with one today.”

Did you run in the back early in the race by design?

“I hate to say it, but you have to play the game. You have to get to the next round. To win the championship, you have to win the last race and you have to get to the last race. For us, we played the strategy to play the numbers to make sure we got locked in and then win the race.”

What makes this win special for Joe Gibbs Racing?

“JJ Damato (JGR executive) was a great friend of ours at JGR. Just really thinking of his two kids right now. It’s really, really sad what happened to unexpectantly lose him. We’re all thinking about him.”

— Toyota Racing —