Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin
40-Year-Old Driver  
Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing
2021 Fantasy Outlook
The 40-year-old veteran is coming off the best two-season run of his NASCAR Cup Series career. Hamlin has averaged seven wins and 23 Top 10s the last two campaigns and he's challenged for the championship. Were it not for some ill-timed inconsistency during the playoffs, Hamlin could have likely won the championship each of the last two years. However, that has been his lone shortcoming. As to dominance and statistical production, the Joe Gibbs Racing star has it in spades. The No. 11 Toyota team returns completely intact after last season and still headed up by crew chief, Chris Gabehart. Hamlin and he will keep this team operating at a high level, but we tend to believe the numbers will begin a slow creep downward with time. The veteran driver has crossed that invisible 40-year-old line that typically starts to erode driving ability. Read Past Outlooks
Top-5 Finish in Pennzoil 400
March 7, 2021
Hamlin finished fourth in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon.
Hamlin led four different times for a total of 47 laps. The Joe Gibbs Racing star had one of the stronger Toyotas in the field. Hamlin was a fixture among the Top 5 for this entire event. He would be leading well into stage 3 before falling into the clutches of Kyle Larson for the last time on lap 206. Hamlin would fade from there to fourth-place by lap 267 and the finish. It was his third Top 5 of the season.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
The Joe Gibbs Racing veteran rebounded spectacularly last season. After posting a disappointing 2018 campaign, Hamlin erased any doubts about his driving ability with a stellar six-win, 24 Top 10 campaign in 2019. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota would race for the championship at Homestead but fall short finishing fourth in the title chase. Still, it was a very impressive effort for the 39-year-old driver. Hamlin will look to hold onto those gains with crew chief, Chris Gabehart, who led him to that success. He posted career-best marks in terms of Top 5's, Top 10's and average finish position for the season. It will be tough to top that level of performance, so we expect a slight pull back in those numbers in 2020. Hamlin will still be in the top tier of drivers, but don't expect a carbon copy of last year's titanic performance.
The Joe Gibbs Racing veteran endured a challenging season in 2018. Hamlin went winless for the first time in his 13-season career, and posted a five-season low in Top 10s with 17. It all added up to his worst point standings finish (11th) of the last five years. Hamlin will look to hit the reset button this season and get back to his winning ways. He'll start out with a new crew chief as Mike Wheeler moves on to other challenges and the No. 11 team will be headed up by new chief, Chris Gabehart. We expect Hamlin to rebound to more recent numbers this season. That would include getting back to victory lane once or twice and a Top-10 total closer to 20 or more. Hamlin could come cheaper in fantasy drafts this season, and that presents some value to those that wait.
The Joe Gibbs Racing star is coming off a typical season for the No. 11 Toyota team. Hamlin racked up two victories and 22 Top-10 finishes en route to finishing sixth in the driver standings for the second-straight year. That's been the pattern and the mark for this driver and team for the last three seasons. Crew chief Mike Wheeler and Hamlin have found a good level of consistency and the ability to win races, but they're just shy of the serious championship contender level. Although Hamlin came painfully close to making the Championship 4 at Homestead, but came up just short. With the retirement of Matt Kenseth, we expect more focus at Joe Gibbs Racing to fall on Hamlin and his race team. He and Kyle Busch are the faces of the franchise now, and championship contention is the ultimate measure of success. We expect to see Hamlin race with some real urgency in 2018.
The Joe Gibbs Racing star is one of the streakiest driver's in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Hamlin is known for his classic hot and cold streaks throughout each season. He can go on a tear for several races and be the best driver in the series or he can go completely stone cold for a period. However, it all seems to work out in the end and he'll post 2-to-3 wins and 20-22 Top 10's with a Top-10 finish in the final driver standings most of the time. 2016 was a high point in some ways as Hamlin managed a career-best 11.8 average finish. This was due in large part to much better qualifying than Hamlin typically does over a season. Hamlin and crew chief Mike Wheeler will be reunited in 2017 and they'll get right to work on improving on what was a pretty good campaign last season. This is a contract year for Hamlin, so motivation to push even higher will be priority.
There was some good news and some bad news for the driver of the No. 11 Toyota in 2015. While Hamlin rebounded to two victories and 20 top-10 finishes, it was his inconsistency late in the season that prevented him from making the Championship 4 in the Chase like he did in 2014. The disappointment of not racing for the title at Homestead was a bit mitigated by the fact that Hamlin performed better and more consistently than he has the two previous campaigns. The veteran driver will have a new crew chief in the upcoming season with Mike Wheeler taking over the duties during the offseason. Considering that Joe Gibbs Racing in general is on the rise, we can only be very optimistic that Hamlin will continue his upward trajectory in 2016.
Last season’s Chase for the Cup was like a tale of two seasons for Hamlin. He started the 10-race playoff with one victory and three Top-10 finishes, but in the second half he faded miserably. Hamlin only posted one Top 10 in the final five races of last year and limped to the finish line of 2012. That gave the driver of the No. 11 Toyota a sixth-place finish in the final driver standings. As good as Hamlin can be, he often shows mental fragility when it’s all on the line. Still, his 18 victories the last four years rank him among the elite in NASCAR. A potential championship may lie just out of reach for a time for this talented driver, but race wins and many Top 10’s are certainly in his near-future with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hamlin filled in the last races of 2005 for Gibbs in the #11 car very well. He captured the pole position at Phoenix and collected a few top 10 finishes in his handful of starts. A rookie of the year award could be in the future of Hamlin this season.
More Fantasy News
Starting from rear Sunday
February 28, 2021
Hamlin will be starting from the rear for Sunday's Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after his No. 11 Toyota had unapproved adjustments ahead of the race, Jim Utter of reports.
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Awarded Homestead Pole
February 24, 2021
Hamlin will start on the pole for Sunday's Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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Third at Daytona Road Course
February 21, 2021
Hamlin finished third in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway Road Course Sunday afternoon.
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Fifth-Place in Daytona 500
February 15, 2021
Hamlin finished fifth in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway Sunday night.
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Signs extension with JGR
February 2, 2021
Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it has extended agreements with driver Hamlin and long-time sponsor FedEx with a pair of multi-year agreements.
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