Driver Spotlight - Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin was born James Dennis Alan Hamlin Jr. on November 18 1980 in Tampa, Fl and he began racing in 1988 in go-karts. When he was sixteen, he began racing Ministocks, and later on, he progressed to Grand Stock and Late Model Stock Cars in 2000. His NASCAR career began in 2004 in Craftsman Truck Series driving in five races for EJP Racing. During that year, he also competed in ARCA RE/MAX Series and Busch Series. In 2005, he ran Busch Series full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he ended up in 5th position overall.
In 2006, he ran full-time in both Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup, finishing the season as the first rookie ever to make it to the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, earning the third position. In 2007 and 2008, Hamlin finished 12th and 8th. In 2009 he finished 5th, and 2010 was much more successful for him. He entered the season as one of the contestants for the title, but the prognosis was jeopardized by his knee injury. However, he managed to finish the season in second position, loosing the lead to Jimmie Johnson in the last race.
In 2011 and 2012, Hamlin finished the seasons in top 10, scoring 9th and 6th positions, but in 2013, he had his worst full-season ever, finishing at 23rd place despite winning the season’s finale at Homestead. But, in 2014, he started the season with a win in Sprint Unlimited and Budweiser Duels, almost winning the third Speedweeks race. Despite having a few problems during the season, his consistent driving during the Chase earned him the third place overall, which could have been better if it weren’t for the team chief decision to make a pit stop while leading the race and the title under the caution flag.
In 2015, Hamlin will continue driving his Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he hopes that the pairing with crew chief Dave Rogers will provide better results, hopefully the championship win.