NASCAR: Denny Hamlin May Achieve One Cup Series Record He Doesn’t Want

by Caitlin Berard
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With 66 wins to his name, including 47 in the Cup Series, Denny Hamlin has found an immense amount of success in his nearly two-decade NASCAR career. Last weekend’s race in the Richmond Raceway marked another win in the books for the No. 11 driver. However, as time rolls on, Denny Hamlin gets closer and closer to claiming a record no NASCAR driver would want.

For close to a decade, Mark Martin has held the unfortunate title of best driver to never win a championship. Though Martin had an incredible career of 31 Cup Series season and 40 wins, he could never quite reach the ultimate prize that is a Cup Series championship.

Back in 2020, Denny Hamlin surpassed Martin’s win total. And thanks to his win in Richmond, Hamlin broke the tie he held with Buck Baker for 17th winningest Cup Series driver.

Now, does Denny Hamlin still have time to claim a Cup Series championship before retirement? Sure. At this point, however, he’s approaching the record for oldest driver to win a championship. In 1999, Dale Jarrett won the coveted prize at age 42, the same age Denny Hamlin will be come November of this year.

Denny Hamlin Credits Teammates for Win in Richmond Raceway

Though NASCAR races are an individual effort, to a certain extent, having a strong team can make all the difference for drivers, regardless of series. In Denny Hamlin’s eyes, he couldn’t have captured his first win of the 2022 season and come that much closer to a record-breaking career without his team behind him.

During his post-race presser, Denny Hamlin said that, although he’s savoring his victory, he doesn’t take all the credit for his stellar performance in Richmond.

“I’m glad we were able to turn the ship around, at least for a week,” Hamlin said. “Next week, we’re gonna see if we can really start to build some momentum going forward. I don’t want to look too far ahead because I certainly want to celebrate this one.”

“It sure is a positive sign, considering how we ran as an organization at Phoenix,” Hamlin continued. “But you never know. It’s been a great track for Joe Gibbs Racing for many, many years, for whatever reason. I think a lot of it comes from me and Kyle [Busch] really pushing each other to get really good on these short tracks and Martin has really turned a corner and been one of the best short track racers we have in our sport in the 4 or 5 years.”

“When you’ve got teammates you can feed off of like that,” Hamlin said, “You’re gonna have a great chance to win.”

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