Hamlin spins in opening Sprint Cup practice

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 26: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 26:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
HAMPTON, GA – FEBRUARY 26: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga. –  Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin spun his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota during Friday’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the loss of control wasn’t attributable to the lower-downforce competition package making its 2016 debut this weekend.

Rather, Hamlin blamed the line he oftens runs during the Sprint Cup races.

“I tend to use probably a little bit more of the apron,” explained Hamlin, who was 23rd fastest in the opening session. “Me and Kevin (Harvick) seem to use the apron a lot to make our cars go around the corner and I just – I felt like I got on the apron a little bit too much, and that just de-wedges the car a lot, and that’s when it spun the car out.

“I think it was just trying to kind of simulate a race simulation a little bit more. You don’t like to practice down there a whole lot, but you race down there, so I was trying to get down there as soon as I could and just lost it. But we’re – at the time, we’re kind of fighting the handling of our car anyways. I think we ran – that was like our 11th lap in a row of a run and it’s going to be handfuls on Sunday for a lot of people.”

Kyle Larson paced the opening session with a lap at 192.902 mph, followed by Kasey Kahne (191.807 mph) and AJ Allmendinger (190.975 mph).

Hamlin later qualified 12th for Sunday’s race.

About Greg Engle 7420 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 Examiner.com 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.