#11 “Delivering Strength” Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing
Race: Toyota 500
Date/Time: Weds, May 20/7:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 228 laps/311.4 miles
Track Length: 1.36 miles
Track Shape: Egg-shaped oval
2019 Winner: N/A
Darlington “The Real Heroes 400” Recap: Denny Hamlin battled the track “Too Tough to Tame” for a top-five finish in NASCAR’s return to live racing on Sunday. Hamlin finished fifth at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in the Cup Series’ first event since going on hiatus in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The #11 “Thank You FedEx Team Members” Toyota lined up 10th by virtue of a random draw for the one-day event. With no practice or qualifying laps before the green flag, Hamlin had to assess the car for the first time during the first part of the race. The FedEx Racing team had brought a fast car – they just worked on slight handling issues through the 400-mile event. Hamlin remained in the top 10 throughout the afternoon, but never had enough to challenge for the lead. Kevin Harvick dominated much of the race for the win, leading 159 of the 293 laps.
Darlington Toyota 500 Preview: The series heads back to Darlington Raceway Wednesday night for a 500-kilometer event on the egg-shaped oval. Hamlin is a two-time winner at the track, taking the checkered flag in 2012 and 2017. Hamlin owns eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 15 career races at Darlington, leading a total of 562 laps. Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team will look to improve on their fifth-place finish in Sunday’s return-to-racing event at the South Carolina oval.
FedEx “The Real Heroes Project” Spotlight: FedEx is honored to highlight team member and “Real Hero” Jami Clark, from Afton, Wyo., with her name above the door of Hamlin’s car for the Toyota 500. Clark splits her time as a Sr. Global Operations Control Specialist with FedEx and as an Air National Guard C-17 pilot. Lately she’s been flying COVID-19 aid in missions for the 155 Airlift squadron. When she gets a free moment, she loves to go for runs with her dogs and train horses. FedEx is honored and thankful for her continued service during these challenging times.
FedEx “Delivering Strength” Paint Scheme: The #11 FedEx Toyota will sport a special paint scheme for the Darlington NASCAR race, carrying the message “Delivering Strength” on the hood and #fedexstrong on the back of the car. FedEx wishes to draw attention to not just its 475,000 FedEx team members, but all the organizations FedEx is working with during the COVID-19 crisis, including nonprofit organizations, the healthcare community and FedEx customers.
Track: Darlington Raceway
Laps Led: 562
Avg. Start: 8.9
Avg. Finish: 7.6
Hamlin Conversation – Darlington:
How did it feel to be back on a real racetrack in the FedEx Toyota?
“It definitely felt good to be on the racetrack, that’s for sure. I’m proud of our FedEx team and everyone who helped put this program together. NASCAR and FOX did a great job to put together a process of making this a safe return that fans could enjoy on TV. Obviously, we wish we could do it with fans at the track, but that will come in due time.”
What do you need to do differently in the return to Darlington on Wednesday?
“I’m excited to go back and give it another shot. I like the process of figuring out what we can do better and getting to work on those things. Our FedEx Camry is going to be just as good, if not better, than it was Sunday.”