Denny Hamlin frustrated despite fifth place finish

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 10: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leads Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on March 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin started third in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway. But, unlike Joe Gibbs Racings teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., who finished first and second, Hamlin had difficulty holding his track position.

The driver of the No. 11 Toyota was ninth for the final restart on Lap 239 of 312, and he charged to fifth at the finish, giving JGR three of the top five positions. Nevertheless, Hamlin was far from satisfied with his second top five and third top 10 of the season.

“Our Camry was fast,” Hamlin said. “We just got set back by some track position stuff–a little bit in the pits again. Just had a couple of bad restarts. We started (ninth) and drove up to fifth. Super-fast Camry. We should have been right there where my teammates were. We just didn’t keep the track position quite as good as they did.

“Frustrating. Trying to get track position when you have a fast car. You just can’t drive through the field. You have to be patient and wait on everyone to kind of mess up or you’ve got try to run a different line, but when you do it’s just too much distance. Just the frustration of having a faster car, and you can’t pass.”