Virginia is home for Hamlin

LAT Images #11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground and Christopher Gabehart

Denny Hamlin has long considered Richmond Raceway his “home” venue. Having grown up in nearby Chesterfield, Va., doing well at Richmond was always a goal. And he’s succeeded.

Hamlin has three Monster Energy Series victories and three Xfinity Series wins at the 0.75-mile oval. His 1,659 laps led in Cup there is most in the field. He is one of only four active drivers to win from the pole position (2016).

In seven of the last eight Richmond races, Hamlin has finished sixth or better. He was fifth this April. He has 12 top-five and 16 top-10 efforts in 26 starts, including a runner-up finish to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2006 – his first ever Monster Energy Series race at his home track. Six times he’s led at least 100 laps, including 381 of 400 laps from the pole position in 2008 – only to finish 24th while Clint Bowyer celebrated in Victory Lane.

Hamlin could really use some of his hometown magic. He tumbled from second in the points standings to start the 10-race Playoff push to a season-low seventh place following a 15th-place finish in the Las Vegas Playoff opener last week. 

Still Hamlin’s season statistics are impressive. He has 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes through the opening 26 weeks and is averaging a 9.9 finish. In seven of the last nine races he’s finished sixth or better – and that includes two victories, at Pocono2 and then Bristol-2 from the pole position.


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