oe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin continues to build his massive lead in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings riding a hot streak of top fives that has reached eight straight – the longest streak of top-five finishes of his Cup career.
Now the Chesterfield, Virginia native heads to Talladega Superspeedway, a wildcard event he is the most recent driver to master taking the checkered flag last October, to continue his streak of top fives and try to become the ninth different driver to win consecutive races at the 2.66-mile track; joining Pete Hamilton (1970 sweep), Buddy Baker (1975 sweep, 1976), Darrell Waltrip (1982 sweep), Dale Earnhardt (1990, 1993-94, 1999 sweep), Sterling Marlin (1995-96), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2001-2003), Jeff Gordon (2007 sweep) and Ryan Blaney (2019-2020).
If Hamlin finishes in the top-five for the ninth time in the first 10 races of the season he will become the third different driver to accomplish such a feat in the NASCAR Cup Series; joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Cale Yarborough (1974) and Darrell Waltrip (1979).
NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough holds the NASCAR Cup Series record for the most consecutive top-five finishes to start a season with nine straight in the first nine races of the 1974 season.
This season, Hamlin has made nine starts and has put up eight top fives (series-most among active drivers) and an average finish of 4.2 (series-best among active drivers). He has also led a quarter of the laps run this season (694 laps led; 26.75% of laps run).
At Talladega, Hamlin has made 30 series starts posting two wins (2014, 2020) nine top fives (series-most among active drivers) and 13 top 10s.