Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin continues to hold the top spot in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings this season, but is still looking for his first victory of the year 10 races in. As the defending winner of the first Kansas race last season and one of only four drivers to post consecutive wins (2019, 2020) at the 1.5-mile facility – Jeff Gordon (2001, 2002), Matt Kenseth (2012, 2013), Martin Truex Jr. (2017 sweep) – Hamlin is looking to end his winless drought that has reached 15 races dating back to Talladega Superspeedway last season (Oct. 4, 2020).
With a stout 87-point lead on his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. in second in the series driver standings, Hamlin has a firm grasp on the points lead heading into this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
This season, Hamlin has chalked up eight top-five finishes in the first 10 races. Even without a win his consistency to finish upfront has him leading the series in several key season-to-date Loop Data metrics – Average Running Position (6.736), Driver Rating (117.0), Laps In The Top 15 (2,279 laps; 90%), Laps Led (736 laps; 29.1%) and Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap (96.15%).
Now the Chesterfield, Virginia native turns his attention to Kansas Speedway, a track he has three victories at (2012, 2019, 2020) and is tied for the lead in the series in wins withJeff Gordon (2001, 2002, 2014), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2011, 2015), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2016, 2018) and Joey Logano (2014, 2015, 2020). In total, Hamlin has made 25 series starts at Kansas posting three wins, eight top fives and nine top 10s. His average finish at Kansas is 14.5 (sixth-best among active drivers). Hamlin finished 15th in last season’s Kansas Playoff race.