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Denny Hamlin Previews Bank of America 500 with Victory Lane Club Members
Today at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, gave fans and media a preview of the upcoming Bank of America 500 at the Mecca of Motorsports on Oct. 16.
Hamlin was at the track for a lunchtime fan forum and media session. He also took a spin around the quad-oval in a vehicle he’s never driven: a 32,000-pound Charlotte Area Transit System, or CATS, bus that is custom wrapped as a stock car to promote the Bank of America 500. Hamlin was challenged to a “race” on the track in a second CATS bus driven by Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Members of the speedway’s Victory Lane Club and The Speedway Club got the chance to participate in a Q-and-A session with Hamlin and go along for the ride in the bus.
Video of the bus race can be accessed at: http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/multimedia/video/
Hamlin has scored a series-high six wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010 and currently leads the championship point standings heading into this weekend's race in Kansas City, Kan. While he has been successful at most tracks in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Hamlin has struggled at Charlotte, having logged only three top-10 finishes here in his career. Last year, Hamlin was leading the Bank of America 500 and was the car to beat when engine trouble knocked him out of the race.
Here’s what Hamlin had to say as he looked ahead to the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
Q: Despite some strong runs, you’ve struggled with your finishes at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the past. How will you approach the Bank of America 500 this year in an effort to turn your performance around?
A: “We’re excited to come here and be part of the only night race in the Chase. The race last year we were leading and ended up having an engine failure, so we’ve got to redeem ourselves and run good here. I think we’re gonna turn that around this time and if we do hopefully it’s going to be a stepping stone toward the championship.
“You ask me how I run at Charlotte and I’ll always say ‘That’s a good race track for us,’ until I looked at the stats today and it looks terrible – there’s a lot of zeroes in a lot of columns. We’ve definitely ran better than what we finished here. But I’ve only been here a few years and I’ve been in contention to win a few of them but things just haven’t panned out. But I love coming here, this is one of my favorite tracks in the Chase. We’ve really been strong at this race track before but we don’t have the stats to show it. I feel like I’ve been in contention to win the last couple but just haven’t had the luck to go with it.
Q: It’s always special to race at this legendary superspeedway, which is right in the backyard of so many race teams and home to so many drivers. Tell us what racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway means to you:
A: “We feel like for the most part this season, the mile-and-a-half, two-mile tracks have been our strong suit. That’s where we’ve really excelled this year. Charlotte is such its own mile-and-a-half race track – it’s unlike any other, whether it be the dark pavement, the yellow walls or the excitement of having the hometown crowd there. All the race teams are here so it’s a big deal for all the teams. It’s always a little bit more exciting because you have a lot of friends and family in the area.
“Everyone here in Charlotte has done such a good job making it a great event. It’s not just a race anymore, it’s a week-long event that people can take their families to and enjoy and it’s something that I’m proud to be part of.”
Tickets for all October races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). The Bank of America Fan 4 Pack includes tickets, hot dogs and Coca-Cola drinks starting at just $39.75 per person, or fans can get four nights of great racing with the Bank of America 500 Week Super Ticket for just $99.
For daily updates on October race activities, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.