Denny Hamlin Reacts After ‘Finally’ Getting the Monkey Off His Back With NASCAR Win at Darlington

Published 09/06/2021, 12:43 PM EDT
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


For a long time, Denny Hamlin was in danger of going the entire 2020 season without a win. The good news is that he has finally put it to rest and opened his account with a win at Darlington. With this, Hamlin drew first blood in the Cup Series playoffs and seized his berth in the next round.

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In all honesty, this could not have come at a better time for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. All throughout regular season, he kept falling short of Victory Lane, and others won before him. On the bright side, he held onto the championship lead for a fairly long time, until Kyle Larson took over.

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Now, the #11 driver is utterly thrilled to finally get the monkey off his back. Admittedly, this win was a lot more important because it secured his berth in the next round of the Playoffs. Now, he can take it easy for the next couple of races before the madness resumes for the next round. It also serves as an answer to people who may have criticised him for his lack of race wins this season.

How did the race unfold for Denny Hamlin?

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It is worth mentioning that he barely fended off title-rival Kyle Larson for the victory. Nevertheless, he is happy to get off the mark when it mattered the most. Now, he can wait and watch his rivals try to scramble around to book their playoff berths in the Top 12.

May 9, 2021; Darlington, South Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) races during the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

2021 is a far cry from Hamlin’s form last season, where he rivalled Kevin Harvick on the win counter. This time around, he has managed to stick his oar in first, before the Stewart-Haas driver.

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However, Denny Hamlin will be aware that the fight is far from over, and he has to target the Championship 4. Only then can he finally gun for his maiden NASCAR Cup Series title. Though it is worth mentioning that the likes of Kyle Larson will not make it easy for him.

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Dhruv George

11989 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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