Running short on fuel is a particularly sensitive topic for Denny Hamlin – especially since he basically lost the 2010 NASCAR championship that way – and the gas mileage monster bit the driver again on Sunday.
While other Chase competitors raced hard at the end of the GEICO 400, Hamlin was having to slow down to try and save fuel. The reason? His gas man didn't get all the fuel in the tank on the final pit stop.
Even worse, Hamlin ran out of gas on the final lap and coasted to a painful 16th-place finish when he could have had a potential top-five result. Hamlin later tweeted that his gas man, Scott Wood, apologized for the mistake after the race.
"You can't have self-induced problems, and this isn't luck or anything like that," Hamlin said. "This was just us making a big mistake with our fuel again. It's tough."
On the other hand, Hamlin vowed to win next week's race at New Hampshire and said his team was "strong enough and fast enough" to overcome the setback. Hamlin is fourth in the point standings after Chicagoland.
"We're only 15 (points) back – we can make that up easily," Hamlin said. "We're fast enough to do that. The bad thing is that I felt like we could have run to third right there; just was having to run so slow to keep from running out of fuel and we still ran out."