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February 18, 2018

Denny Hamlin

Dayton Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by tonight's third‑place finisher, Denny Hamlin, driver of the No.11 FedEx Express Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny, wild finish to this race. Please walk through those closing laps from your perspective.
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, I mean, definitely put ourselves in position on the final restart. Just, you know, it was a debate on the radio which lane to choose. Obviously doing this long enough that I know that it's made or break by the fifth‑ and six‑place drivers. It's not really who's directly behind you, and I looked and felt like the 21 was probably going to be one of the best pushers. I saw how strong his car was. So we tried to get on the radio and get the 37 behind us, the 21 to try to buy in on whatever line gets organized the most is going to win the race, and not necessarily line, but those are the cars that's going to battle it out for the victory.
We had the full commit from the 37. He stuck with us. But when the 21 bailed, it just messed up the inside line, and the outside line prevailed at that point. So just 50/50 coin flip, and chose the wrong lane. Honestly feel like there was nothing else I could have done, just made a different decision there on lane choice.
Heartbroken for Aric, excited for Austin, disappointed for myself.

Q. Are we at the point with these cars and these tracks where a wreck in effect is going to win virtually every race? If so, is that okay?
DENNY HAMLIN: A wreck will win?

Q. A wreck will produce the winner in some way or other in the last couple laps.
DENNY HAMLIN: You know, I don't know when the last time a speedway race has been done off someone getting into another competitor. But certainly as big as‑‑ with this aero package, as big as the holes are getting punched in the air, it's certainly almost inevitable that it's going to‑‑ there will be some kind of contact for the lead late in the race, which some could argue that's a good thing, some a bad thing. It just depends on what end you are. If you're in the stands, you probably love it. It's exciting, but it's very strategic. It also took out a lot of really good cars today. But we're the ones driving it. They're not making us make the mistakes that we're making.
I think that's okay. I wouldn't panic and change anything. I really didn't get a good enough view of the final wreck with the 10 and the 3 to really comment on who's fault, if anyone's fault. It could be just a racing thing. You never know. But definitely we weren't going to win it at that point unless they took each other out. Tough day for us. Started really great, ended really great, bad finish.

Q. After your wreck at the end of the race, Bubba Wallace said you needed to take some Adderol. Do you have a response to that, and what's your take on what happened there?
DENNY HAMLIN: I blew my right front tire out when he came down and side drafted me, so I didn't have any control of my car because when he came down there, I was just on the yellow line. Nothing I could have done, and it blew my right front tire out with his fender.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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