“Been 2nd-Best to Harvick There”- Denny Hamlin Aims for Atlanta Win After Stellar Start to NASCAR Season

Published 03/20/2021, 11:45 AM EDT
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Hamlin is currently sitting in a very comfortable position on the NASCAR Cup Series points table. He takes his lead and all the momentum from the 5 races so far in 2021 to Atlanta this Sunday, where he starts the race on pole.


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Hamlin has four Top-5 finishes in five races this season and has looked like a contender for the win in each of the races. Another chance to take control from pole presents itself to Harvick, who is looking forward to racing at one of his favorite tracks.

Hamlin is happy with his past performances at Atlanta but also admitted that Kevin Harvick has been better than him on more occasions there. He aims to change that this Sunday.


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Atlanta has always been one of my favorite race tracks. We just haven’t really won a whole lot,” Hamlin said in a recent interview.

“We’ve been dominant there and haven’t won, we’ve been kind of second-best to (Kevin) Harvick there quite a bit. I’m looking forward to it,” he added.

Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) drives during the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Hamlin looks forward to Atlanta return with pole position honors

The no. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing star is satisfied with his team’s set up so far on the 1.5-mile tracks. This year’s race at Atlanta will be different than past races, with no practice and qualifying.

Co-incidentally, Atlanta was the venue where the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown. As NASCAR Cup racing returns to the track, Hamlin projected confidence in his chances to do well there.

“We’ll just see where it all stacks up, it’s tough to say until we get there. With no practice, there’s no telling what happens. I’m confident, my team’s very very good, we can go there and have a good, competitive race,” he said further.

Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Consistency is key for the Joe Gibbs Racing superstar

Hamlin has consistently finished well this season. However, he pointed out that it has not been just the finishes, but he has been consistent throughout the race. That is evident from the fact that he has been in the Top-5 in all but one stage in the five races.

We’ve been in the top-3 or 4 in every stage this year, except for one. And that was the one where I started at the back at Homestead after actually being on the pole there. We’ve been strong and we’ve obviously been knocking on the door,” Hamlin continued.

The 40-year-old superstar feels he has been a 2nd or 3rd place car this season. While he is very keen on converting that into a win soon, his consistency has put him way ahead on points than the other competitors.

Hamlin aims to get even better


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The 23XI Racing co-owner admitted that he is still focusing on getting slightly better to be where he wants to be. “We’re putting ourselves in the hunt. Just got to get a little bit better and we’ll be where we need to be,” Hamlin explained.

Hamlin is also pulling double duty all season. Along with his driving duties, Hamlin has been extremely busy helping Bubba Wallace and the 23XI crew in their first season.

While he will continue to cheer Bubba on, Hamlin’s immediate focus will be another Cup Series race win.


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Aayush Majumdar

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Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.