Race: Fan Shield 500
Date/Time: March 8/3:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 312 laps/312 miles
Track Length: 1 mile
Track Shape: Oval
Banking: 9-11 degrees
2019 Winner: Kyle Busch
Press Kit: Download the 2020 FedEx Racing press materials at www.fedexracing.com/presskit, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.
Fontana Recap: Denny Hamlin’s race weekend in Southern California ended a lot better than it started: After qualifying 28th and taking the green flag at the rear of the field, the driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota finished sixth at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. Hamlin’s 400-mile race wasn’t without its adverse moments. He unintentionally knocked Kyle Larson into the wall during Stage 1 and then scraped the wall himself in Stage 3, both causing damage that affected the car’s aerodynamics and handling. But the veteran driver kept wheeling the car around different lines of the multi-groove track to find speed where he could, even briefly taking the lead in the early part of Stage 3. Entering the final 15 laps of the race in 10th, Hamlin battled numerous competitors to claim a few more spots and cross the line in sixth. The result bumped him up two spots in the championship ranking to seventh.
Phoenix Preview: The series makes its way to Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway before heading back east, and Hamlin looks to repeat his success he had last season in the desert where he won the Bluegreen Vacations 500. In 29 career starts, Hamlin has collected two wins, and 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes at the one-mile oval. After moving up two spots to seventh in the standings following Fontana, Hamlin and team look to continue to make gains at a track where they’ve had past success.
Track: Fan Shield 500
Laps Led: 821
Avg. Start: 10.5
Avg. Finish: 11.0
Hamlin Conversation – Phoenix:
What are you and the team most focused on moving forward as the series heads to Phoenix this weekend?
“We just need to keep working at it. Fontana wasn’t a great race for us, but we got a better finish than we were expecting and got a little bump back up in points. We won last year at Phoenix, so that gives us confidence that we can repeat that success out in the desert.”
What do you need to improve on looking ahead to Phoenix this weekend?
“We just need to find more speed. We haven’t had it the past couple of weeks. But I like Phoenix, I think we can do well here, and I know my team will bring the best car they can.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!