Hamlin: ‘We just couldn’t get it going’

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - APRIL 14: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Yahoo! Toyota, spins after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Cup Series AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 14, 2024 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin has led every race so far this season. He’s won two of those races. And he almost added to that Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Hamlin led 37 laps on the day finishing third int Stage 1. With less than 20 laps to go, he was leading over Chase Elliott. But a solo spin by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with 13 laps to go brought out the caution. The top 20 led by Hamlin stayed out but, on the restart with 8 laps to go, Kyle Larson spun from 17th place going into Turn 1. NASCAR scored Elliott in the lead at the time of caution and the field was reset.

The first restart came with 2 laps to go with Elliott on the inside, and Hamlin on the outside. Hamlin’s shot for the win came to naught on the final lap coming to the white flag. Exiting Turn 3 while racing for the lead, Hamlin spun on the outside ending his chances, and leaving him with a 30th place.

“Yeah, just got loose in turn three. It’s something that I had been fighting all day. When you have to push it most – on a green-white checkered – I knew that the likely scenario. That was that I wasn’t going to make it out of the corner with how much speed that I was carrying.

“But you know just trying to go for the win – got loose and spun out.”

Hamlin admitted that being in the higher lane coming to Turn 3 was probably not the place to be.

“Yeah, you can go up there and it’s, you know, the 45 (Tyler Reddick) got it going there at one point, but we just, we just couldn’t get it going,” Hamlin said. “We had to be on the bottom and, you know, we were in a good spot to win you know, we just had so many untimely cautions when we were out front and then that one where we lost control. That certainly, was not helpful.”

Elliott would go on to win the race.

“I didn’t feel like I did anything super crazy there any more than anybody’s ever done to me,” Elliott said.  “Just had to run forward. I want to look at it. I didn’t feel like I did anything to crash him. I think just the circumstances. But nonetheless, apologies to him if so.”

Greg Engle