Denny Hamlin Desires First NASCAR Cup Title

Sooner or later, Denny Hamlin may win the NASCAR Cup title. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Sooner or later, Denny Hamlin may win the NASCAR Cup title. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Comparatively, Denny Hamlin likens to this era’s version of Mark Martin in today’s world of NASCAR.

By all means, the 38-year-old Chesterfield, Va. has won about everything but the most prized trophy in the premier division.

Certainly, two Daytona 500 victories along with 35 additional wins, 161 top-fives, and 258 top-10’s speak volumes for Hamlin’s staying power.

However, the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry desires the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

In years’ past, the aggressive, outspoken racer committed unforced errors that’d cost him chances to battle for the Cup.

There’s the late season struggles in 2010.  Then, there’s the crash at Phoenix in 2017.  Moreover, pit road speeding penalties occurred during prior postseason, prompting one to ponder when his time would arrive.

Altogether, Hamlin desires a strong endnote for a career campaign in 2019. (Photo Credit: Daniel Overbey/TPF)

Altogether, Hamlin desires a strong end note for a career campaign in 2019. (Photo Credit: Daniel Overbey/TPF)

Instead, a more mature, polished, and determined Hamlin arrived at this year’s Daytona 500.  Of course, the Virginian remains brash but also more relaxed, reflective, and grateful.

Above all, Hamlin and his Joe Gibbs Racing team pay tribute to the late J.D. Gibbs in grand fashion.  Conversely, when adversity strikes the No. 11 team, the veteran racer responds with a timely victory.

Perhaps the Championship 4 racer sums up his approach and evolution as a driver quite well when asked at Texas Motor Speedway.

For the most part, Hamlin's new approach yielded stellar on-track results. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

For the most part, Hamlin’s new approach yielded stellar on-track results. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

“Well, you don’t let one week define your whole season, good or bad, no matter what the result is,” Hamlin said.  “So, you’ve just gotta lock in. And (you) think about the big picture.

And (you) think about, no matter what happens this stage, the next stage, or at the end of the race, you can always recover. Until it’s the last race, you can always recover.”

In contrast to his peers during the Playoffs, Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart rally their crew together, intent on winning the big prize at last.

At the same time, Gabehart encourages his driver to remain assertive, choosing the right battles on the track.

In particular, when Hamlin tangled with defending Cup champion Joey Logano at Martinsville, they only exchanged verbal jabs.  With this in mind, along with the “withdrawals” and “deposits” made in 2019, Hamlin displays a champion’s savvy.

All in all, Hamlin, while working towards a potential first championship, reiterates his commitment and desire for success in NASCAR.

Without delay, he balances his demands on and off-the-track.

Definitely, Denny Hamlin leaves nothing on the table. (Photo Credit: Daniel Overbey/TPF)

Definitely, Denny Hamlin leaves nothing on the table. (Photo Credit: Daniel Overbey/TPF)

“Everyone gets rattled,” Hamlin said. “But certainly, nothing’s ever really kept me from doing my job 100 percent. Or doing the things I need to do outside the car 100 percent.  That’s what professionals do. When we get in the car, it’s business. It’s straight business.”

Ultimately, Hamlin’s business and focus may reward him with the elusive trophy worthy of a driver with his credentials and contributions in NASCAR.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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