NASCAR Cup
NASCAR Cup
08 Feb
-
09 Feb
Event finished
08 Feb
-
16 Feb
Monday Race in
10 Hours
:
16 Minutes
:
17 Seconds
R
Las Vegas
21 Feb
-
23 Feb
First Practice in
4 days
R
Fontana
28 Feb
-
01 Mar
Next event in
10 days
R
Phoenix
06 Mar
-
08 Mar
Next event in
17 days
R
Atlanta
13 Mar
-
15 Mar
Next event in
24 days
R
Homestead
20 Mar
-
22 Mar
Next event in
31 days
R
27 Mar
-
29 Mar
Next event in
38 days
R
Bristol
03 Apr
-
05 Apr
Next event in
45 days
R
Richmond
17 Apr
-
19 Apr
Next event in
59 days
R
Talladega
24 Apr
-
26 Apr
Next event in
66 days
R
01 May
-
03 May
Next event in
73 days
R
Martinsville
07 May
-
09 May
Next event in
79 days
R
All-Star
15 May
-
16 May
Next event in
87 days
R
Charlotte
22 May
-
24 May
Next event in
94 days
R
29 May
-
31 May
Next event in
101 days
R
Michigan
05 Jun
-
07 Jun
Next event in
108 days
R
12 Jun
-
14 Jun
Next event in
115 days
R
Chicagoland
19 Jun
-
21 Jun
Next event in
122 days
R
26 Jun
-
28 Jun
Next event in
129 days
R
Indianapolis
03 Jul
-
05 Jul
Next event in
136 days
R
Kentucky
09 Jul
-
11 Jul
Next event in
142 days
R
17 Jul
-
19 Jul
Next event in
150 days
R
Michigan II
07 Aug
-
09 Aug
Next event in
171 days
R
Watkins Glen
14 Aug
-
16 Aug
Next event in
178 days
R
Dover II
21 Aug
-
23 Aug
Next event in
185 days
R
Daytona II
27 Aug
-
29 Aug
Next event in
191 days
R
Darlington
04 Sep
-
06 Sep
Next event in
199 days
R
Richmond II
10 Sep
-
12 Sep
Next event in
205 days
R
Bristol II
17 Sep
-
19 Sep
Next event in
212 days
R
Las Vegas II
25 Sep
-
27 Sep
Next event in
220 days
R
Talladega II
02 Oct
-
04 Oct
Next event in
227 days
R
Charlotte II
09 Oct
-
11 Oct
Next event in
234 days
R
Kansas II
16 Oct
-
18 Oct
Next event in
241 days
R
Texas II
23 Oct
-
25 Oct
Next event in
248 days
R
Martinsville II
30 Oct
-
01 Nov
Next event in
255 days
R
Phoenix II
06 Nov
-
08 Nov
Next event in
262 days

From being rumored to lose his ride, Hamlin now a title favorite

shares
comments
From being rumored to lose his ride, Hamlin now a title favorite
By:
Oct 22, 2019, 11:37 PM

There are several good candidates for most improved driver in the NASCAR Cup Series this season but it’s hard to overcome Denny Hamlin’s resume.

Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Freight
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express wins his second Daytona 500
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express, Christopher Gabehart and Coach Joe Gibbs at the Daytona 500 Champions breakfast and car induction
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Freight

No other driver has gone from championship afterthought in February to championship favorite with four of 36 races remaining.

Hamlin entered the 2019 season coming off his first winless season in what was at the time a 13-year fulltime career. His No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team made another crew chief change with the addition of Chris Gabehart in the offseason.

I think clearly he’s shown the ability throughout his career to elevate.

Chris Gabehart on Denny Hamlin

Not to mention, rumors were swirling Hamlin’s job could be in jeopardy with upstart Christopher Bell patiently waiting for a move from the Xfinity to the Cup series in 2020.

Stepping up their game

But instead of washing out, Hamlin and his team stepped up, beginning the year by winning the season’s biggest race – the Daytona 500.

“Chris has meant a lot to Denny, and I think it did start off with the Daytona 500. That 500, everything it meant, everything about J.D. (Gibbs), everything about the 11 number and everything, it was a huge deal,” said team owner Joe Gibbs.  

Gibbs’ son, J.D., died Jan. 12 at the age of 49 from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. He had been a co-founder and co-chairman of JGR and instrumental in the hiring of Hamlin.

“I don’t think that was something that just happened,” Joe Gibbs said of the 500 victory. “I think God really was a part of that weekend. We started there.”

Hamlin followed the Daytona win with a victory at Texas in March in a race where he overcame two pit road penalties. Late in the summer, Hamlin put together a run of six consecutive top-five finishes that included wins at Pocono and Bristol.

He earned his first win in the playoffs last weekend at Kansas – sending him into the semifinal round on a wave of momentum with a trio of tracks ahead – Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix – on which he performs well.

Read Also:

The elusive Cup title

Gabehart says he has seen Hamlin rise to the occasion throughout his career and especially this season, to give himself a solid opportunity at his first series title at age 38.

“I think clearly he’s shown the ability throughout his career to elevate. I think that’s the difference between a good driver and a great driver, just like any athlete, is the ability to elevate when the pressure is on,” Gabehart said.

“Now he has the experience of the good days and the bad days, the good years and the bad years. He’s just on it right now. I mean, this race team shows up to win every week. We’re disappointed if we don’t, quite frankly.”

While this season may be one of Hamlin’s last, best chances at an elusive Cup series title, he refuses to consider the 2019 a success or failure based on the outcome of the championship hunt.

“I think we believe that a successful year is making it to Homestead. Anything can happen in one race,” Hamlin said. 

“But we are not going to let one race dictate whether this year is a success or not.”

Title or no, Hamlin has shown this season will be far from his last.


 

Next article
eNASCAR Heat Pro League title to be decided this week

Previous article

eNASCAR Heat Pro League title to be decided this week

Next article

Opinion: The new manufacturer NASCAR really needs

Opinion: The new manufacturer NASCAR really needs
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Author Jim Utter