Denny Hamlin Pumps the Break on the Path to Tony Stewart’s Legacy as He Breaks Down the Challenges Along the Way

Published 09/26/2023, 6:25 PM EDT

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After 18 years of racing with Joe Gibbs Racing, Denny Hamlin has amassed 51 wins in the Cup Series, including a Coca-Cola 600 victory and three wins each at Daytona 500 and Southern 500. Besides all of that, he is the part owner of 23XI Racing, with NBA legend Michael Jordan as his partner. Not to mention, he is a 7-time Pocono winner and has his own podcast and perhaps, could easily be induced into the Hall of Fame someday in the future. But he is 42 already.

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Judging by usual norms, he will be around as a driver for about 7 more years. After that, he will transition to the role of a team owner. And before he does that, he wants to follow the footsteps of Tony Stewart in adding ‘track owner’ to his resume. A chance to make that happen had arrived a few months back, but due to a few obstacles that stood in his way, Denny Hamlin has not been able to finalize a deal. But he sure intends to.

Denny Hamlin wants to go all in or nothing

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Tony Stewart is living the dream of several contemporary NASCAR drivers. Besides being the owner of a NASCAR Cup Series team, he also owns an NHRA team. And with SRX as his brainchild, Smoke has gained immense fame in the arena of stock car racing. But that’s not all. He also owns Eldora Speedway, a half-mile high-banked clay dirt oval in Ohio.

Denny Hamlin craves to own a track as well. And with the County of Chesterfield setting up Southside Speedway’s maintenance deal up for grabs, Denny Hamlin saw a golden opportunity to turn his dream into reality. But it is easier said than done.

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The Chesterfield native said, “It’s one thing for me to put my money and skin the game but for me to do all of it, that doesn’t make sense, especially if I’m doing it to help your tourism revenue. I’m not interested in running Southside Speedway. I am if I own it.

Watch this story: After Joe Gibbs & Denny Hamlin Fulfilled His Personal Request 9 Years Ago, Michael Jordan Was Once Left “Nervous” for His Future Business Partner

The County is not ready to give Denny Hamlin the sole ownership of the track and the 41-acre site. They merely want someone to run it and bring it back to its glorious past of running races for six decades. However, Denny Hamlin felt like it was a waste of time and effort to run something that he didn’t own.

Denny Hamlin revealed his plans with Southside Speedway if he gets its ownership

NASCAR has weekly races on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, if a racetrack remains unattended for the rest four days each week, it is only normal that there will be a massive loss in revenue. Denny Hamlin opined that he would need around 5-10 million dollars to renovate the place.

According to him, a mere weekly show is not enough. If and when possible, he intends to build the track in such a way that even touring series like ARCA Menard could run on it.

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Denny Hamlin knows very well how to generate money out of a business. He feels like Southside Speedway should be a multi-purpose facility where non-racing events could also be organized. He exclaimed, “You’ve gotta have concerts there, you need to have GoKart racing once a week, it’s gotta be a multi-use facility to bring in revenue.”

“It is in a primo area in Chesterfield. The chances of me being involved are low. But we’ll see,” he added with a faint ray of hope glimmering from his voice.

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He admitted that it had been almost 6 months since there had been no words regarding the deal. However, he wished that something happened so that Southside Speedway could come back into the racing conversations.

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Written by:

Soumyadeep Saha

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Soumyadeep is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. He has done his Master's in English Literature and is a semi-professional bodybuilder. He has, in recent years, channelized his love and commitment for motorsports into a building career path.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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