Last season was Denny Hamlin’s toughest since his rookie year in 2006. That’s a statement Hamlin readily admits – and a quick gander at the stat sheets offers all the proof anyone needs.
But that was last year. It’s a brand new season, and it’s off to a blazing start.
A quick rundown of Hamlin’s 2013: After missing four races in the first quarter of the season due to a back injury, Hamlin struggled to finish inside the top 10, posting a career low eight top-10 finishes. He missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the first time in his career. But, the clear highlight came in the season finale, winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hamlin called the win a confidence booster for his team; confidence they used to start off 2014 with a win in Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
As focus shifts to the Daytona 500, history shows Hamlin has a strong chance to continue building moment for a rebound in 2014. Joe Gibbs Racing has always been a strong contender in the Daytona 500. The organization’s first win came in the Daytona 500 with Jarrett in 1993. Even though this was the team’s only win in The Great American Race, JGR has recorded 20 top-10 finishes in points paying races at Daytona International Speedway.
In 2013, JGR cars led 119/200 laps in the Daytona 500, 33 of which were led by Hamlin, whose career best finish of fourth came in 2012.