R. Mark Stiles

R. Mark Stiles

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From the Great Bridge section of Chesapeake, Virginia, R. Mark Stiles, the owner, news director & editor in chief of Catchfence,™ has been dedicated to auto racing news media coverage, journalism and reporting for almost 17-years. Stiles started in the industry in the fall of 1997 with two columns (Green Flag Black Flag and Breaking Loose) for AOL/Athlete Direct's NASCAR department (ADNASCAR). He later merged Green Flag Black Flag and became the news director with Ryan Seek's CatchFence in 1999. At the beginning of 2001, Stiles went full-time with Catchfence, served as an assistant to the now retired Voice of Daytona Int'l Speedway chief track announcer, Bill Bowser, and In 2005 he acquired full ownership of Catchfence.

Aug 01

Denny Hamlin 2014 NSCS 400 Race Preview

Filed under Sprint Cup Series

Denny Hamlin (FedEx Office) - Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Denny Hamlin (FedEx Office) - Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Event: 400
Date/Time: August 3/1 p.m. ET
2013 winner: Kasey Kahne
2013 polesitter: Jimmie Johnson
Distance: 160 laps/400 miles
Track Length: 2.5 miles
Banking: 14/8/6 degrees
Track Shape: Triangle


Indianapolis RecapDenny Hamlin finished third in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis. Hamlin and crew chief Darian Grubb gambled on an alternate fuel strategy that went awry when the tank wasn’t completely filled on what was supposed to have been the team’s penultimate pit stop. The #11 FedEx Express Toyota started 27th and entered the pits in 21st when a competition caution flag was waved on lap 20. Great pit work by the FedEx crew saw Hamlin pick up five spots after getting fuel, four new tires and a chassis adjustment to tighten up the car. By lap 45, he was in the lead and ahead of second place by four seconds. He continued to stretch his lead until a green flag stop at lap 55, returning to the famed two-and-a-half-mile oval in 11th. On lap 68 another caution came out just as Hamlin took the lead after green flag pit stops had cycled through. Grubb continued with the team’s strategy and told Hamlin to stay out, but to conserve as much fuel as possible. Worn tires contributed to Hamlin falling back to sixth after the restart. As the varying race strategies played out, the #11 machine was poised to make one less stop for fuel than the rest of the field. Hamlin made a scheduled green flag pit stop at lap 90 and returned to the race in 28th place. Six laps later, after realizing the tank hadn’t been completely filled, Hamlin was forced to pit under caution for fuel in order to get back in sequence with the rest of the field. After restarting 13th with 59 laps to go, Hamlin worked his way up to fifth with 25 laps remaining. The final caution came out with 20 laps to go with Hamlin running fifth behind Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. On the final restart, Hamlin worked with his JGR teammates and took advantage of a shot of momentum exiting turn two. Hamlin seized the opportunity and made a daring three-wide pass down the backstretch, catapulting him to third.

Pocono Preview: The Series heads to Pocono Raceway for Sunday’s 400-mile event at the “Tricky Triangle.” Hamlin is second among active drivers with four-career Pocono victories, including sweeping both races from the pole at the 2.5-mile track in his 2006 rookie campaign. He was also victorious in August 2009 and June 2010 at Pocono, and has recorded 11 top-10 finishes in 17 career starts at the track. Hamlin has led a total of 667 laps at Pocono, and has led at least 17 laps in 10 races. He finished fourth at Pocono in June. With NASCAR’s ruling concerning a rules infraction at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hamlin dropped to 21st in the standings after being docked 75 championship points. Holding one victory on the season (Talladega), the team remains in strong contention for qualifying for the Chase. Mike Wheeler, who has been on the #11 team since its inception in 2005 and is a current team engineer, is stepping in as crew chief, with JGR veteran Chris Gillin stepping in as car chief.

FedEx Office – Closest to Pocono Raceway: 940 Schecter Drive, Ste 1, Wilkes Barre, PA 18702, (570) 819-0813

FedEx Office Westin LAX Along for the Ride in Pocono: The FedEx Office at the Westin Los Angeles Airport will be recognized with its district code “5588” on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota at Pocono for being the leading Hotel & Convention store team in the company’s annual President’s Club program. The program recognizes champion results for FedEx Office locations in key performance and service areas. 


What was your reaction to NASCAR’s ruling after Indianapolis?

“I’m obviously disappointed in the penalties, but I respect NASCAR and the appeal process. I’m confident that regardless of the outcome, our 11 team will continue to fight each week to try to win races, secure a spot in the Chase and compete for the championship.” 

What are your thoughts heading back to Pocono this weekend?

“We feel like we’re getting back on track at Pocono since the repave a couple of years ago with the pole and fourth place finish in June,” said Hamlin. “Obviously it’s a different track than it was when we were able to take both Poconos in 2006, but I still really like the track and feel like the team has the right pieces to continue our success there.” 

Feb. 23 Daytona 500 Daytona 4 2 200/200 Running $1,148,451 16 2nd
March 2 The Profit on CNBC 500 Phoenix 12 19 312/312 Running $87,480 8th
March 9 Kobalt Tools 400 Las Vegas 27 12 267/267 Running $121,410 1 8th
March 16 Food City 500 Bristol 1 6 500/500 Running $116,865 4 7th
March 23 Auto Club 500 Fontana* 13 17 202/202 Running $107,410 11th
March 30 STP 500 Martinsville 2 19 500/500 Running $94,475 12th
April 7 Duck Commander 500 Texas 6 13 340/340 Running $137,770 20 13th
April 12 Bojangles’ Southern 500 Darlington 10 19 374/374 Running $101,905 3 15th
April 26 Toyota Owners 400 Richmond 28 22 400/400 Running $88.890 14th
May 4 Aaron’s 499 Talladega 35 1 188/188 Running $303,315 12 12th
May 10 5-Hour Energy 400 Kansas 30 18 266/267 Running $94,765 12th
May 25 Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte 6 22 398/400 Running $112,985 14th
June 1 FedEx 400 Dover 7 5 400/400 Running $136,880 9th
June 8 Pocono 400 Pocono 1 4 160/160 Running $137,500 4 8th
June 15 Quicken Loans 400 Michigan 29 29 198/200 Running $92,640 12th
June 22 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sonoma 16 26 110/110 Running $97,035 13th
June 28 Quaker State 400 Kentucky 4 42 27/267 Accident $71,580 17th
July 6 Coke Zero 400 Daytona 37 6 112/112 Running $135,370 14th
July 13 Camping World RV Sales 301 Loudon 3 8 305/305 Running $109,565 20 12th
July 27 The John Wayne Walding 400 Indianapolis 27 3 160/160 Running $307,890 18 21st
Averages/Totals 14.9 14.5 99.9%   $3,496,771 98    

Driver: Sam Hornish Jr.

Source: Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing

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