Denny Hamlin hoping to "finish this thing off" at Phoenix

Denny Hamlin’s NASCAR career has been extensive and successful but it continues to lack one significant achievement – a Cup Series championship.

Denny Hamlin hoping to "finish this thing off" at Phoenix

Hamlin has had several opportunities over the years, he even finished third in the series standings in his rookie year back in 2006.

He’ll get one more on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, when he competes against Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott for the 2020 season title.

Hamlin and Kevin Harvick dominated the 2020 season with 16 wins (seven for Harvick) between them yet when it came to the semifinal round of the playoffs, Harvick got eliminated and Hamlin ended up as the final driver to qualify for Championship 4.

With the current elimination-style playoff format and winner-takes-all finale, championships are not only harder to come by, but having the opportunity to compete for them is even harder to achieve.

Read Also:

“We’ve achieved our goal for the year. Our goal was to get to the final four,” Hamlin, 39, said. “After that, it’s all about circumstances. You have to have a fast car and you have to have things fall your way if you want to be a champion.

“It’s a little different than it used to be. Now it just comes down to one race. We’ve achieved our goal. Two years in a row now making the final four – hopefully, we can finish this thing off.”

This season is Hamlin’s third time competing in the Championship 4 and his season performance as well as his track record at Phoenix should give he and his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team plenty of confidence.

Hamlin won this race one year ago and in his career he has two wins at the track, and 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 30 starts.

“We obviously had a great Phoenix last year (but) things were a lot different. You had a different aerodynamic package,” Hamlin said. “Certainly I feel like when I go there I’m going to roll off and hopefully have a race winner.

“Obviously, we’re going to be ready and we’re going to be prepared and hopefully we’ll go out there and show what we’ve got.”

Should Hamlin again come up short in quest for his first series title, it shouldn’t detract from his career accomplishments – 44 career wins, three Daytona 500 victories, an All-Star Race victory and next year he’s set to become a part-owner of a Cup Series team along with NBA icon Michael Jordan.

Asked to assess his chances at winning Sunday, Hamlin said, “I think we can win any given week for sure. The short tracks haven’t been great for us all year, but you just never know.

“Last year, we went there and nearly lapped the field, so who knows how it’s going to turn out. One race, winner take all, you never know.”

shares
comments

Related video

Penske's challenge at Phoenix? Its drivers need to "play nice"

Previous article

Penske's challenge at Phoenix? Its drivers need to "play nice"

Next article

NASCAR says 2020 "single most difficult year we've faced"

NASCAR says 2020 "single most difficult year we've faced"
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Phoenix II
Drivers Denny Hamlin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020