The West Coast swing is underway for NASCAR and Denny Hamlin is looking forward to the Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin has done well in California throughout his career. However, he’s never come away with the checkered flag.
Auto Club Speedway is a track that drivers love. They crave these worn-out venues with grooves and room to race. Denny Hamlin has been on this two-mile track more than a few times.
While he hasn’t won, Hamlin has three pole awards from Fontana. He’s finished in the top-5 a couple of times and has had a number of top-10 finishes as well. On NASCAR’s last two-mile oval, Hamlin hopes he can get a win before it’s gone forever.
“[Auto Club] is really high on my list for this year because it’s a place I haven’t won at in my career and most likely being the last time on this configuration would make it that much more special. Plus, it’s got a great trophy I’d love to add to my collection.”
The Daytona 500 didn’t go Denny Hamlin’s way. But he seems to be in good form as he prepares to head west and compete for another checkered flag. The NASCAR Cup Series is just getting started this season and we have a lot to look forward to.
Hamlin is going to have to battle a tough Californian to get the win, though.
Fontana – Kyle Larson or Denny Hamlin?
If Denny Hamlin wants to add that surfboard trophy to his collection, then he needs to defeat a California native to do it, Kyle Larson. Larson looked great in Daytona this past week. He loves racing at Fontana.
Larson leads the odds heading into the weekend at 7-1. Hamlin on the other hand trails at 9-1 odds along with Ryan Blaney. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is determined to have a big season in 2023 and Fontana might be the first step along the path.
However, Larson is no slouch, especially at his home state track. In eight starts, Larson has won twice, finished P2 twice, and won the pole once.
So, Denny Hamlin is excited for California. He should be. This two-mile track offers racing unlike any other in the sport. These drivers are going to gear up and get ready for this west coast journey.
It feels good to have NASCAR in full swing again.