Things were looking fantastic on Monday for Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing, as the team looked to have one of the fastest cars in Dover, Delaware for the remaining 300 laps of the DuraMAX Drydene 400.
After winning the race’s first stage, Hamlin – along with the rest of the field — decided to hit pit road for new tires under caution, but that’s where things went awry.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 2, 2022
Exiting pit road, Hamlin lost the left-front tire on his No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry before even merging onto the track. As a result, Hamlin had to restart at the tail of the lead lap, restarting in 29th.
Strangely enough, this is the second time this weekend that the winner of the race’s first stage has lost a wheel immediately after, with Sam Mayer suffering the same fate in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event.
The loss of a wheel for Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing will result in the four-race suspension of crew chief Chris Gabehart, jackman Darrell Edwards, and front tire changer Blake Houston. However, official penalties will be announced by NASCAR mid-week.