Motorsport News

No. 11 Crew Comes up Clutch in Richmond

2024 Cup Richmond I Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, pit stop (Credit: Alex Slitz/Getty Images via NASCAR Media)

The return of night racing to Richmond Raceway produced a first in NASCAR Cup Series history and a dramatic overtime finish. Denny Hamlin came away with his fifth career win at his home racetrack, restarting from the lead in overtime and holding off Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. Here is how pit road and pit strategy shaped the outcome at The Action Track.

No. 11 Pit Crew Comes up Clutch

The pit crew of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team consistently ranks among the best on pit road in terms of four-tire pit stops. Per Bozi Tatarevic of Road & Track, Hamlin is ranked first in his pit crew index, which takes fastest, average and median four-tire pit stops into account.

The No. 11 crew showed why they are one of the best when it mattered most. Prior to overtime, all of the lead lap cars came down pit road, with Hamlin entering third. But Hamlin left pit road out front, leapfrogging Truex and Logano with an impressive 8.99-second four-tire stop from his over the wall guys. By comparison, Truex and Logano each spent 10.29 seconds in their pit stalls.

By taking the lead on pit road, Hamlin controlled the final restart and managed to clear Truex and drive away for the checkered flag. If the No. 11 crew keeps executing like they did Sunday night, then Hamlin could be a contender to capture that elusive Cup Series championship.

Mother Nature Throws a Curveball at Crew Chiefs

In the hours leading up to the scheduled 7:15 p.m. green flag, rain began to fall in the Richmond area. The damp track conditions prompted NASCAR to make an unprecedented decision. For the first time in Cup Series history, teams equipped their cars with wet weather tires at a short track.

Randall Burdett, crew chief for the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch, predicted the possibility of wet weather tires in a pre-race meeting with his crew.

“We’ll kind of be up in the air,” Burdett said in the team meeting filmed by FOX Sports. “They’re allowing us to put on wet weather tires right now. It sounds like they would possibly go green.”

Indeed, NASCAR…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at …