By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
The annual tradition of NASCAR Salutes and the 600 Miles of Remembrance have drivers, sponsors, and teams unveiling special, patriotic colors heading into both the Coca Cola 600 and the Coke Zero 400. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and FedEx, with the help of Team Rubicon, unveiled a special No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota Camry to run in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
Hamlin has found success at the “World Center of Racing” on several occasions. He won the Daytona 500 in 2016. Hamlin also has seven top-five finishes and eight top-10s at the 2.5-mile restrictor plate track. In total, the 13-year Premier Series veteran has 25 starts at the Daytona Beach, FL track.
“This is an awesome program, and when I learned a little more about it, it made me even more honored to drive this car,” Hamlin said about FedEx Cares and Team Rubicon. “FedEx does so much during natural disasters and people don’t even hear about them, they use their planes to help move supplies. That’s some of the unsung things that don’t go recognized, things that FedEx does through FedEx Cares. This team (Team Rubicon) is very similar to that. You always hear about the American Red Cross, but you don’t hear about Team Rubicon that’s always behind the scenes with veterans and volunteers, helping people that really need help.”
Heading into this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the first event of NASCAR Salutes, Hamlin sits seventh in the Championship Standings. He is 123-points behind his teammate and Points Leader Kyle Busch, and 114-points ahead of Chase Elliott, who holds the cutoff for the Playoffs. So far this season, Hamlin has just one Playoff Point from a stage win, a far cry from the 17 that Busch, and 24 that Kevin Harvick have.
Now Hamlin and his FedEx team will look to improve on that stat in the Coca-Cola 600, the only race on the NASCAR schedule that has four stages, presenting the opportunity to earn an extra Playoff Point.