Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin left Talladega Superspeedway with a ninth-place finish Sunday afternoon in the Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500. Hamlin was the highest-placing Toyota Camry on the day after starting the race from the 17th position in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry.
Matt Kenseth finished 25th in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota after starting eighth, while Carl Edwards started 22nd and finished 32nd in the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota; both drivers finished on the lead lap. David Ragan, in his final race in the No. 18 Pedigree Toyota, started ninth and finished 38th after an accident.
“It looked like the 6 (Trevor Bayne) car and maybe another white car got turned sideways down the back straightaway and we were in the top groove and tried to slow down,” said Ragan. “Someone on our left side just kind of came across our nose. It’s very unfortunate with our Pedigree Toyota. I felt like we had some good speed. Just one of those things at Talladega – if you’re not up in the top-two or three or if you’re not running 38th to 40th then you’re very subject to being involved in some accidents like that. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but had a good run with the 18 guys. Have to thank everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing for the opportunity and wish it would have worked out a little bit better.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr.
Boris Said started fifth and finished 16th in Saturday’s Winn-Dixie 300 Xfinity Series race in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, his first race in the car for the season.
“That was a friggin’ blast, man,” said Said. “Oh what a feeling – it’s like Toyota. I feel bad because I made one big mistake about 30 (laps) to go and got pushed out and went to the back and I just couldn’t find the room to get back to the front. This Monster Energy Toyota was so good today and it was a good way to start. It was fun. All the fenders are on it and I had a blast.”
Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez had less than stellar days at Talladega Saturday, finishing 30th and 31st, respectively. Jones, in the No. 20 SportClips Toyota, experienced overheating issues after being involved in an early-race accident, while Suarez, in the No. 18 ARRIS Toyota, was also involved in the early-race accident.
“We knew everybody was pitting and then everybody slammed on the brakes even when they weren’t coming to pit road,” said Jones. “Just an unfortunate deal there and must have knocked a hole in the radiator and all the water ran out of it and ended up losing the motor. Had a decent Sport Clips Camry – just I don’t know if we might have been able to do something there with the 33 (Austin Dillon), but just never could seem to find our way to the front all day. We’ll come back in the July Daytona race and try to do a little better.”
Joey Logano won the Winn-Dixie 300, followed by Brian Scott, Austin Dillon, JJ Yeley and Joey Gase.
The Sprint Cup Series visits Kansas Speedway with the Camping World Truck Series this weekend, Friday and Saturday, May 8th and 9th. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.