Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin returns to Martinsville Speedway, one of his most successful tracks, as the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings leader looking for his first win of the 2021 season. The Chesterfield, Virginia, native also leads the NASCAR Cup Series in victories at the historic Martinsville Speedway with five (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2015) and has all the intentions of making it six in Saturday night’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (April 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Hamlin’s consistency has been the key to his early success in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings this season. In seven starts this year, he has collected six top-five finishes (series-most) and now sits 58 points ahead of second place Joey Logano.
Among active drivers, Hamlin is one of the most prolific short track competitors in the series. He is tied with Kurt Busch for the second-most short track Cup wins among the drivers entered this weekend with 10 victories each.
At Martinsville, Hamlin has made 30 series starts posting four poles, five wins, 15 top fives and 21 top 10s. But his Martinsville Speedway accolades don’t stop there. The NASCAR Cup Series pre-race Loop Data has him leading just about every category among active drivers heading into Saturday night – Average Finish of 9.933 (series-best), Average Running Position of 9.622 (series-best), Driver Rating of 105.0 (series-best), 984 Fastest Laps Run (series-best), 12,039 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1%) (second-most), 1,024 Quality Passes (series-most).
Hamlin finished 11th in last season’s Playoff race at Martinsville. He will start on the front row Saturday night.