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It’s hard to argue against the fact that Denny Hamlin is one of NASCAR’s top drivers.
He has been with powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing since making his series debut back in 2006.
Hamlin won at least one race every season until 2018.
After dealing with an offseason fueled by speculation and uncertainty following his first winless season, #11 bounced back in style.
He kicked off the 2019 season by winning the Daytona 500 for the second time in his career.
Looking like a totally different driver, Hamlin went on to score three more wins this year.
In the space of a year, he went from nearly losing his seat to looking like a championship contender.
It’s not that much of a stretch to say that Hamlin is back to his 2010 self.
Many have argued that the Joe Gibbs driver hasn’t been the same since suffering a heartbreaking defeat back then.
Hamlin sat at the top of the standings with two races left after scoring back-to-back wins at Martinsville and Texas.
No driver had ever lost the championship during the postseason era after leading the standings with only two races remaining.
But it all went wrong at Phoenix, with Hamlin and his team butting heads over a pit stop.
In the end, #11 missed out on a yellow flag pit window and saw his championship lead get demolished.
At Homestead, Hamlin set the pace early on, but a terrible qualifying left him at the back of the field.
In a desperate attempt to climb up the order, he ended up making contact with Greg Biffle and ruined his remaining championship hopes.
Hamlin didn’t take that blow kindly and had a substandard 2011 season.
While he did have some strong showings since 2010, the Joe Gibbs driver never quite returned to his old form.
Things could be different in 2019.
What: Federated Auto Parts 400
Where: Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, VA
When: Saturday, September 21st at 7:30 PM EST
How: NBC Sports (TV) | Motor Racing Network (Web radio) | NBC Sports App
Get an odds boost with DraftKings Sportsbook!
In a recent interview to NASCAR’s official website, Hamlin stated that he wasn’t owed a title.
But having been around the sport for nearly a decade and a half, it’s hard to deny that he at least deserved another shot.
His resurgence in 2019 seems to have come at the perfect time.
The Joe Gibbs driver entered the playoffs second in points, having scored four wins during the regular season.
He made it to the Round of 12 in every single one of his five playoff appearances.
On the other hand, Hamlin only has one Final Four appearance, a third-place finish in 2014.
But his record at the postseason tracks makes a title run look perfectly possible.
Hamlin has wins in six of the ten tracks that host a postseason race.
These are well spread-out too between Richmond (Round of 16), Talladega and Kansas (Round of 12) and all three Round of 8 tracks.
In other words, Hamlin could make a run to the Final Four by repeating his previous results at these ovals.
More importantly, however, is his solid career record at the championship decider.
Hamlin is a two-time winner at Homestead, and started three of the race’s last four editions from the pole.
The 2010 runner-up will be among the favorites should he make it to the Championship round for a second time.
Yes, 2019 could be Denny Hamlin’s year.
To top it off, Hamlin is listed at very good odds, so he would be an extremely viable pick.
The odds for the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship are provided by 888Sport NJ. Good luck!
|Truex Jr, Martin||+450|
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