“Denny Hamlin Is the Guy” – NBA Great Makes His Prediction for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race

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November 8, 2020 5:30 pm

A common belief among many, in the build-up to the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 championship race, is that it is the most evenly matched season finale in recent years. However, former NBA star and NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty feels Denny Hamlin is certainly the favorite going into Sunday’s race.

Daugherty, who owns JTG Daugherty Racing, feels Hamlin has not been at his best during the playoffs. However, he backed Hamlin to get the job done.

I think it’s Denny Hamlin. Even though he hasn’t performed up to the level that we’ve expected over the last several weeks.

“With some miscues and just a little bit of a lack of performance,” Daugherty said during an interaction.

Why Brad Daugherty feels Denny Hamlin will win the title

The former Cleveland Cavaliers star feels Hamlin is now mature enough to get the job done in the biggest race of the season.

Oct 4, 2020; Lincoln, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) crosses the finish line ahead of NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto (21) during the Yellawood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

“I just think he’s matured into that type of driver who’s not going to make the mistakes he’s made in the past. I just think he’s matured enough to take advantage of being continuously in the last four over the last several years,” Daugherty added.

The 55-year-old went on to say that season is Hamlin’s best chance of winning the title. If the No. 18 car driver fails to win this year, he may never be able to do so, Daugherty expressed.

“This is his time. If Denny Hamlin doesn’t win a championship this year, he may never win a championship,” he said.

The pressure is rising on Hamlin

Despite the fact that Hamlin has downplayed the pressure of still being without a title, Daugherty feels that Hamlin is well aware of what is at stake.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“He’s trying to deflect, do those types of things. But you know from the whispers. ‘The greatest to never win a title’ and that type of talk,” Daugherty said.

The basketball great feels the best way to answer the critics is to win. “The only way to dispel that is to go win the race this weekend. Or finish the race better than the other guys. I think Denny Hamlin is the guy,” Daugherty concluded.

Hamlin will partner Daugherty’s fellow NBA player, the legendary Michael Jordan, as a team owner next year. Going into a year of added responsibility with a championship win will just make it better. It will also be a big relief for Hamlin.

ALSO READWhy Denny Hamlin Has a Great Chance to Turn a Stellar Season into His First NASCAR Cup Series Title

Aayush Majumdar

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. He is an avid tennis and NASCAR follower even when he is not writing about these sports, and looks up to the likes of Rafael Nadal and Jimmie Johnson.

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