Hamlin Scores Top-10 at IRP in Nascar Truck Debut Clermont, Ind. -- Denny Hamlin, in his series debut, raced to a tenth-place finish in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Friday night.
Hamlin Scores Top-10 at IRP in Nascar Truck Debut
Clermont, Ind. -- Denny Hamlin, in his series debut, raced to a tenth-place finish in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Friday night. Hamlin started the Team EJP Racing No. 03 Joe Gibbs Performance/Decoma Chevrolet from the seventh position, and raced among the top-10 for the early stages. He dropped back to fifteenth following a mid-race pit stop, but raced back towards the top-10 and picked off two trucks coming out of turn four on the final lap to secure a top-10 finish in his first start.
"What a night," Hamlin said. "I learned right off the bat these guys are here to race and they don't give you a lot of room. We just started off way too tight, and I couldn't touch the throttle coming off the corners until really late. I knew if we could get the truck freed up we could run with anyone in the top-10 and even the top-5. But this is a track position racetrack, and we didn't want to give up all those spots early in the race. When we did make our pit stop, we dropped back in the pack a little, so later on we decided to gamble and pit to make an adjustment late. We weren't going to lose that much anyhow, and we wanted to see what we could do with the truck a little more free. It paid off."
Hamlin restarted the event after his lap 180 stop for adjustments as the last truck on the lead lap. He picked up three spots in the final 18 laps, two of them coming on the last corner of the last lap.
"I caught the 46 and the 47 (Dennis Setzer and Kyle Busch) with a couple of laps to go," he said. "They got to racing each other, and they left the high side open through turns three and four on the last lap. I had better tires than they did so I stuck the truck up there and drove it past them coming to the flag. I guess those two got together coming off of four, but I never saw it. I was already past them when they started crashing."
Hamlin and Team EJP Racing will return to action next month at Richmond International Raceway.
"We learned a ton here tonight, and this is exactly what this team and I needed," Hamlin said. "The Joe Gibbs Racing people are happy, I am happy, the team is happy. We'll get the truck ready for Richmond and see what we can do there."