Denny Hamlin Argues NASCAR’s “Big Teams” Will Have an Undeniable Advantage to Dominate in 2024

Published 02/12/2024, 3:45 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Championship officially kicks off this weekend. Defending champion Ryan Blaney will be eager to try to snatch a second consecutive title. Aside from him, there are multiple drivers who will be painting a target on his back. Of course, there are the championship favorites, the ones who have an outside shot, and the underdogs. However, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin has some bad news for the latter two.

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In the latest episode of his Actions Detrimental podcast, Hamlin spoke about the upcoming season. According to him, the big NASCAR Cup teams could potentially dominate the proceedings. This means that the likes of Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Richard Childress Racing, and others, could be the favorites.

How did Denny Hamlin reach his assessment?

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Adding to the fact that 15 different drivers won races last year to make it to 16-driver playoffs, Hamlin said in his podcast, “I’m always a pessimist on the amount of drivers that win. Was it 17 last year or the year before that? The first Next Gen year, 16-17. It was higher, right? Because [Martin Truex Jr] didn’t make the Playoffs and he was 2nd in points, is that right? Or third in points because he didn’t win a race? I just think that the trend is, these big teams figure things out.”

“Once they figure things out, they have an advantage. You’re not just going to be able to overcome. The resources eventually catch up,” the #11 driver concluded.

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According to him, the Next Gen car’s introduction blew the competition wide open. Since lower-ranked teams could hit the setup right, it helped them with a race win or two. But now, that race winner count, which skyrocketed with the Next Gen car, is plummeting.

Back then, if drivers like Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Michael McDowell, and AJ Allmendinger were taken out of the equation, it could have easily given Brad Keselowski a shot at the championship. The same applies to Bubba Wallace, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs, Daniel Suárez, and Alex Bowman. Each of these drivers is perfectly capable of winning a race in 2024. However, Hamlin did mention that a few drivers are also capable of winning multiple races in the season. Case in point, William Byron, who had a breakout 2023 season with six wins.

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The 2024 season has a lot of questions that need answering

Hamlin also admitted that in 2024, there were several big driver moves in the off-season. In addition to that, Toyota and Ford rolled out new cars and the big question is whether those cars are faster than their predecessors. He even mentioned Stewart-Haas Racing, which experienced a massive internal overhaul. There are so many storylines, like Brad Keselowski chasing his first win for his own team.

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At the end of the day, Denny Hamlin believes that the 2024 season will be pretty wide open. He confessed that it was easy to place the usual suspects as the Championship 4 drivers. The same might happen again this year because of the big teams or ‘super organizations’ who will improve. This ranges from consistent pit crews to the vast resources, so it is easy to pick the favorites to be in the Championship 4. Who are your top picks?

Why Do People Hate Denny Hamlin?

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Written by:

Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a Senior NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports, with an impressive record of over 14K articles. From F1 driver Pierre Gasly to Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino, Dhruv has interviewed several racers, establishing himself as an authoritative voice in the world of motorsports. He not only writes engaging content but helps connect readers with some of the biggest racing names thanks to his ability to churn out exclusive interviews.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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