Found July 01, 2012 on
Start 'N' Park Blog:
Denny Hamlin made his return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and his debut behind the wheel of the No. 18 Dollar General Toyota by qualifying sixth for Friday evening’s 200-lap event at Kentucky Speedway.
When the green flag flew, Hamlin jumped to fifth and hung in the top-five early, complaining of a loose in/tight off condition. On the first pit stop on lap 26, crew chief Matt Lucas made air adjustments and added a rubber to the right rear after taking four tires.
Unfortunately, the four-tire stop on lap 26 got Hamlin out mid-pack as a majority of cars ahead of him took just two. Hamlin restarted the race in 12th.
Hamlin had worked his way up to seventh by lap 61 and was talking to Lucas about the changes to make next when he radioed in that the motor was starting to “let go.”
A long green-flag run prohibited Hamlin and the Dollar General team from bringing the car in and checking the problem out. Instead, the team had to drive through the problem and began losing a number of positions and fell several laps down.
On lap 132, the engine finally let go and Hamlin pulled the Dollar General Toyota behind the wall. The damage was terminal and Hamlin had to settle for a 33rd-place finish.
Hamlin’s Post-Race Thoughts: “Unfortunately we didn’t have the car that we wanted tonight and the engine problem just topped off our day. I don’t know what happened. We just got in the middle of the pack and that’s just where we stayed. You just can’t pass at all (in these Nationwide Series cars). The surface is rough, the tires are hard and you just can’t make any moves at all, especially with this Nationwide car with no power. It went down on seven cylinders early in the race and then finally blew going into turn one there right before it qui. It’s not the showing I wanted in my first race for Dollar General. We’ve got a couple of more shots later this year with them. We’ll make it up then.”
BEST OF MAXIM
Denny Hamlin will not test NASCAR's free-agent market, agreeing Saturday to a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hamlin announced the extension on Twitter before Saturday night's race at Kentucky Speedway. Terms of his extension were not released, but he locked up a new deal almost 15 months before his current contract with JGR was set to expire.
In a message posted...
Denny Hamlin has signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing. An announcement is expected later tonight.
"We pride ourselves on long-term deals," team owner Joe Gibbs said, but would not reveal the terms. "Denny's done a great job for us and he's done a great job for FedEx."
Hamlin, 31, made his debut with JGR at Kansas Speedway in 2004. After...
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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #18 Dollar General Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (June 27, 2012 - Source: Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)
It may not be the name everyone is waiting to be called but Joe Gibbs Racing has agreed to a contract with a driver...