Loudon, N.H. - Denny Hamlin drove the Team EJP Racing No. 03 E.J. Prescott Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish in the Sylvania 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday. Hamlin started 19th and used...
Loudon, N.H. - Denny Hamlin drove the Team EJP Racing No. 03 E.J. Prescott Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish in the Sylvania 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday. Hamlin started 19th and used a combination of pit strategy and a strong race truck to run as high as second in the 200-lap event, and with a later stop for fuel than others, was due to pick up several positions in the late stages of the race before the event concluded under caution because of darkness.
"I really hated to see the last couple of cautions," Hamlin said. "We were the highest running truck that had stopped for fuel. The caution with 20 laps to go allowed some of those guys to stretch their mileage and make it to the end. If we didn't have that caution, we would have picked up a few more spots when those guys started running out of gas.
"Once that last crash happened, we really could have used a green-white-checkered finish. Travis (Kvapil) only had a couple more laps of fuel left at the very most, and (Jack) Sprague was sputtering around out there under caution. If we had a couple more laps, I think we could have ended up in the top-5 for sure."
In the middle stages of the race, Hamlin ran third behind leader Steve Park and David Starr. As the field spread out, the three leaders pulled away from the pack, opening up a half a straightaway advantage on the fourth-place runner.
"These guys put a darn good truck under me today," Hamlin said. "On that long green flag run once we got out front, we were able to really pull away from those guys behind us. Even after we stopped and fell to the middle of the pack, we could pass the guys in front of us as we caught them. We probably were as good as anyone in the top-5."
Hamlin, who is a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, learned some tricks to get around the flat one-mile oval while running in traffic late in the race and was able to make some passes in the high groove, where many drivers would not dare venture.
"I was running in a big pack and experimented a little bit," Hamlin said. "I learned some things on how to get around the corners in the high groove and was able to make some passes out there. As slick as it was early on, a lot of guys weren't ready to try the outside, but once I figured we could make it work, we went out there and started picking them off."
Hamlin and the No. 03 Team EJP Racing Chevrolet return to action next Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Las Vegas 350. The race is scheduled for a 10 P.M. Eastern start, and will be televised live on Speed Channel. The race is also scheduled for live broadcast on select radio affiliates of the Motor Racing Network as well as NASCAR Radio 144 on XM Satellite Radio.