Nascar

Denny Hamlin focused on playoffs over win at the Daytona Speedway

Denny Hamlin is not worried about whether he enters the NASCAR playoffs without a win.

Denny Hamlin and his No. 11 racing team have had a great year. They have earned their spot in the NASCAR playoffs with another consistent season battling through the pandemic which somehow turned out to be a blessing in disguise at least on the track for Hamlin.

“It really hasn’t been a challenge,” Hamlin told FanSided. “I think our team actually strives in being prepared for the things that people aren’t prepared for. Our homework that we do doing during the week prepares us when we hit the racetrack on Sunday our car is fast and it is ready to go. We don’t need practice, we don’t need that extra time on the track.”

Hamlin is not in need of a win to be playoff eligible or in need of a win to elevate his confidence. Does Hamlin feel like he needs a win in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona to validate his season?

Denny Hamlin not lacking in confidence ahead of NASCAR playoffs

“Not really, I’ll take all ten wins in the playoffs if that is what it takes,” Hamlin said. “From my standpoint, we are doing everything we can to get to the final four. That is the end goal for us every year we start, how can we get to the final four with a chance to win a championship.”

Hamlin is busy off the track trying to make NASCAR a more inclusive sport. His No. 11 car will have a special look thins weekend with four HBCUs highlighted.

“NASCAR is changing a lot of it for the good,” Hamlin said. “They’ve kind of gotten characterized into the 1960s and ’70s into one way and slowly working their way out of that. A lot of things are changing within our sport.”

Hamlin continues to work with basketball legend Michael Jordan building up the 23XI racing team. The group recently purchased 15 acres of land in Huntersville, North Carolina. The investment is even stronger one year into the partnership.

“Things are happening so quickly,” Hamlin said. “I just can’t tell you everything behind the scenes and how we are trying to build this program up to a race-winning and championship-winning organization. It takes time. We hope to get there in the next few years.”

Hamlin is an avid basketball player himself still playing pickup hoop these days in his downtime. So who would Hamlin pick between Jordan and LeBron James in their prime?

“Is that really a question,” Hamlin asked? “I am taking MJ simply because of the clutch factor at the end of the games and he was a better shooter and I need someone to make a bucket. I mean making the right play, LeBron makes the right play most of the time, but a lot of times he is not involved in that last and right play.”

Making the right play would mean a bunch of wins for Hamlin come the NASCAR playoffs.

Denny Hamlin spoke to FanSided on behalf of The FedEx Shaping Black Futures program which is built around diversity, equity and inclusion. 

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