In a combined press conference, Denny Hamlin and FedEx announced on Thursday afternoon at Daytona they have extended their respective contracts with Joe Gibbs Racing. The terms of the deals were not made clear, but the deal will keep Hamlin with the only organization he has competed for in NASCAR’s premier series for the foreseeable future.
Hamlin, 36, is entering his 12th full-time season in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition. Hamlin has qualified for NASCAR’s postseason in 10 of his 11 completed seasons, the lone exception coming in 2013 after he sustained a fracture in his lower back during a crash at Fontana and missed the next four races.
Commenting on the extension, Hamlin said, “It’s great, obviously, I’ve had a great relationship over the 12 years of my career and to do it with one team, one sponsor, is very rare in our sport.” Hamlin added, “To have a sponsor that sticks behind you and a team like Joe Gibbs Racing I’m definitely blessed and wake up every day thanking my lucky stars I’m in the position I’m in and that will continue on.”
Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Hamlin jokingly said, “I’ll be much grayer” in reference to when he would need another contract extension to potentially finish his career.
When asked if Hamlin explored opportunities with other race teams during the course of his career, he stated, “I’ve been a horse with blinders, everything has been good at home. Why venture out?”
Hamlin’s loyalty to Joe Gibbs Racing over the years has paid dividends. Although he has yet to win a Cup Series Championship, he has amassed 29 points-paying victories in addition to an All-Star Race win and three triumphs in The Clash (formerly Shootout at Daytona).
Hamlin will compete in the Can-Am Duel at Daytona on Thursday night (7 p.m. on FS1) and will try to become the fourth driver in history to win back-to-back Daytona 500’s. All the action from the Great American Race can be seen live on FOX 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Greg Atkins