Denny Hamlin enjoys solid run, but JGR still seeks first win

Denny Hamlin (Getty Images)

SONOMA, Calif. –Denny Hamlin’s Toyota lacked the muscle of some of the stronger cars in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, but the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota parlayed spot-on pit strategy and a solid performance into a fourth-place finish at the 1.99-mile road course.

After finishing fourth in the race’s second stage, Hamlin stayed out on older tires and inherited the lead. All told, he was out front on two occasions for a total of 11 laps, fifth most among a race-record 10 leaders.

“It was good—definitely had a great car,” said Hamlin, who finished one position ahead of JGR teammate Kyle Busch. “We didn’t have quite enough at the end.

“We didn’t have real good short run speed. We didn’t’ really have great long run speed. We just had good middle speed, and that worked out for us. We had good pit strategy and really passed a lot of cars today, and that’s about what we had.”

Hamlin currently ninth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, but he and teammates Busch, Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez are winless through 16 races this season.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.