Race: Charlotte Coca-Cola 600
Date/Time: Sunday, May 24/6 p.m. ET
Distance: 400 laps/600 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Track Shape: Quad-oval
2019 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Darlington Toyota 500 Recap: Denny Hamlin won Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in the #11 FedEx “Delivering Strength” Toyota, after a late-race call to stay out on older tires with less than 30 laps to go was followed by a wreck and rainfall, cancelling the end of the race. Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart elected to come to pit road to put on new tires – the team’s last set – during a caution on Lap 183, just a handful of laps after pitting under green flag conditions. Hamlin lined up fourth for the ensuing restart, and quickly moved into third. Another caution came seven laps later, and Hamlin elected to stay out having already used all of his fresh tires. The move proved prophetic because Hamlin inherited the lead when the lead lap cars pitted and held the point after the restart. Then, following a wreck and caution on Lap 202, the skies opened up and NASCAR called the race official. Hamlin started 16th based on an inversion of the top-20 finishers from Sunday’s race at the same track, but was bogged down in traffic in the early going. He climbed to eighth at the end of Stage 1, and finished seventh in Stage 2. The race length – only 300 miles – increased the drivers’ sense of urgency to move to the front, but with a host of cautions and a car built for long-run speed, Hamlin could never show his true strength. That changed in the final segment, as Hamlin picked off cars in a march to the front. He got up to second before a green flag stop on Lap 178. The win is the second of the season for Hamlin and the 39th of his NASCAR career. He moved up two spots to fourth in the 2020 NASCAR standings following the victory, now 57 points behind leader Kevin Harvick after six of 26 regular season races.
Charlotte Coca-Cola 600 Preview: The series heads home to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night for the annual 600-mile event on Memorial Day weekend. Hamlin owns nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 27 career races at Charlotte, leading a total of 377 laps. Hamlin looks to this weekend’s race to secure his first victory at the North Carolina track. As part of NASCAR’s “600 Miles of Remembrance” tribute, the #FedEx11 car’s windshield will honor U.S. Army 1SG Russell Bell. The Ohio native, who had been based at North Carolina’s Ft. Bragg, was killed in action in 2012 in Afghanistan.
FedEx “#SupportSmall” Paint Scheme: The #11 FedEx Toyota will sport a special paint scheme for the Charlotte NASCAR race. The paint scheme pays tribute to small business owners, the real backbone of America, which is represented through the stars on the car. #SupportSmall is also included on the hood to highlight the support FedEx has and will continue to show small businesses during the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of that support, FedEx has announced a new grant for small businesses to help them get back to business from COVID-19 impacts, with $1 million available in grant money. Small businesses can head to fedex.com/supportsmallgrants to learn more. FedEx has also teamed up with BigCommerce to help get businesses online and products in customers’ hands, fast. Head to FedEx.com/bigcommerce to find out more.
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Laps Led: 377
Avg. Start: 10.9
Avg. Finish: 12.3
Hamlin Conversation – Charlotte Coca-Cola 600:
What is behind the look of your new paint scheme for the Charlotte race?
“We’re happy to have the new #SupportSmall paint scheme for this weekend’s race in Charlotte. The scheme pays tribute to small business owners, the real backbone of America, which is represented through the stars on the car. FedEx knows how valuable small businesses are to our country and economy, so they have been working to ensure they are supported during this difficult time.”
How do you get yourself ready for the longest race of the year, especially when you had a long hiatus out of the car?
“I’ve been driving in this race for years now, and I know what to expect. I’ve also kept in shape while we stayed at home for two months, so I feel like physically I’m ready for it. Our FedEx team will be working hard to prepare, and we’ll be ready to put on a good show for the fans watching at home on this holiday weekend. And, we’re fresh off a Wednesday night victory, so we’ve got momentum on our side.”
FedEx Office – Closest to Charlotte Motor Speedway: 7741 Gateway Lane NW, Suite 110, Concord, NC, (704) 979-1971
|2020 FedEx Racing Team Results|
|Feb. 16||Daytona 500||Daytona||21||1||209/209||Running||79||1st||▬|
|Feb. 23||Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube||Las Vegas||4||17||267/267||Running||0||9th||▼|
|Mar. 1||Auto Club 400||Fontana||28||6||200/200||Running||0||7th||▲|
|Mar. 8||Fan Shield 500||Phoenix||3||20||316/316||Running||0||11th||▼|
|May 17||The Real Heroes 400||Darlington||10||5||293/293||Running||0||6th||▲|
|May 20||Toyota 500||Darlington||16||1||208/208||Running||12||4th||▲|