Denny Hamlin Puts Billionaire Roger Penske’s Star on a Pedestal Despite a Sad Season for the Team

Published 10/04/2023, 10:19 PM EDT

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In the riveting world of sports, talent isn’t the only gateway to success. Here, every dedicated individual finds a stage, and often, perseverance eclipses innate ability. In NASCAR this year, although Roger Penske’s racers navigated a turbulent season, especially with their reigning champion Joey Logano being ousted from the playoffs after the Bristol race, hope remains. One Penske driver persists with an unyielding spirit.

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Victory is the North Star for any NASCAR driver, and that’s precisely the beacon guiding this particular driver from Penske’s stable through the playoffs, alongside his exceptional talents and hard work. Denny Hamlin, in a recent episode of his podcast “Actions Detrimental”, lauded the driver’s efforts, placing him on a commendable pedestal, while talking about next-generation cars and their impact.

Denny Hamlin has voiced the concerns of NASCAR drivers about the next-gen cars

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In the thrilling world of NASCAR, the introduction of the next-gen cars in 2022 promised an evolution from the Generation 6 car. Boasting “enhanced” aerodynamics and downforce packages, these vehicles were masterfully crafted to cut costs and lure original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) into competing against giants like Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. However, with the rush of technology poured into the vehicle all at once, challenges were inevitable.

While NASCAR remains unwavering in its commitment to refining these vehicles, there’s an underlying sentiment among drivers: the next-gen cars might be inhibiting them from fully flaunting their prowess on the asphalt. Yet, one racer seems to be the exception, defying this widely held perception. Denny Hamlin, a luminary from Joe Gibbs Racing, spotlighted Ryan Blaney’s remarkable feats. Blaney, having clinched victories at Talladega with both Gen-6 and Gen-7 cars, appears to be in a league of his own.

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The No. 11 for JGR, while recalling the intriguing discussions with speedway racers he regards highly, said, “I had conversations with what I deemed probably the most talented speedway racers before the race […] about what do you feel as though the next-gen superspeedway racer? Can you show your skills as much as I believe you’re good at this? Do you feel like your skills are shown as much now with next-gen superspeedway racing or not? And all of them unanimously said no! They said not as much. Michael McDowell, who I put in there, in that category, said to me that- I certainly do not feel as though my skillset is shown as much, but I am adapting, which I thought was a very good point because you do have to adapt certainly.”

Yet, when the conversation turned to Blaney, Hamlin contended, “You still can’t argue that the top guys find their way to the front at some point or another, which is why Ryan Blaney won again—he’s won in Gen-6; he has won in Next Gen now. So, he counters that argument a little bit.”

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Indeed, while debates about the car’s distinctiveness and its aerodynamic effects remain, Blaney’s triumphs on identical racetracks with different vehicles are undeniably noteworthy. Besides that, his own teammate, Joey Logano, has also weighed in, suggesting potential rule modifications might be in the offing for the next-gen cars.

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Roger Penske’s star driver advocates for significant rule modifications regarding the next-gen cars

Although the reigning and, until Bristol, defending champion of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series has taken a pit stop from the race, Joey Logano’s voice in the NASCAR community roars louder than most engines. During an insightful discussion on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, Team Penske‘s seasoned pilot of the No. 22 Ford Mustang passionately shared his vision to invigorate NASCAR’s premier series, aiming for heightened drama and an enhanced spectator experience.

As per usanetwork.com, Logano underscored a poignant observation: with next-gen cars now all humming at a comparable pace, the true revamp NASCAR requires to keep the audience riveted might lie beyond engineering. “If they all run the same speed—we’re – we’re the opposite end of that—we all run the same speed, so it’s really hard to see a lot of racing that way. I think if you can change the rules up every couple of years—something big, like big rules changes—I think that creates some separation in the field, which ultimately creates better passes and racing, I think,” he opined.

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“I Scr*wed Up” – Denny Hamlin Admits to Repeating the Same Mistake As He Tries To Justify His ‘Gross’ Blunder

While the next-gen cars have been under scrutiny by numerous drivers for curbing their flair, Joey Logano‘s stance on rule modifications could ruffle the feathers of those already grappling with these new beasts. Yet, perhaps a racer like Ryan Blaney might navigate even these proposed changes seamlessly.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Author for EssentiallySports. Transitioning from an engineering background to writing, she possesses a sharp eye for the sport's technical aspects. Her ability to capture the spirit of the exhilarating races and relay the enthusiasm to her readers distinguishes her as a sports journalist.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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