Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin has been off to a fast start finishing inside the top-five in three of first four races of the season, but current NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings leader is still looking for his first win of the season and hopes to rectify that this weekend in Phoenix.
Hamlin is a stout 38 points ahead of Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski in second in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings following Las Vegas. Now the Chesterfield, Virginia native is looking to lock himself into the Playoffs with a win and this weekend’s venue, Phoenix Raceway, is a place he is quite familiar with. In 31 series starts at Phoenix, Hamlin has posted two poles, two wins (2012, 2019), 14 top fives and 18 top 10s. Plus his average finish at the 1-mile track is 11.032, third-best among active drivers.
Hamlin’s confidence this weekend should be high, the NASCAR pre-race Loop Data has him ranked in the top five of several key categories heading into Phoenix: Average Running Position of 11.220, fifth-best, Driver Rating of 98.4, fourth-best, 492 Fastest Laps Run, third-best and 7,071 Laps in the Top 15 (73.1%), fourth-most.
Last season, Hamlin finished 20th in the spring race and fourth in the season finale at Phoenix.