Denny Hamlin Reluctantly Jumps on the Chase Elliott Bandwagon After the HMS Driver’s First Win in Nearly Two Years

Published 04/15/2024, 6:59 AM EDT

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It seems Denny Hamlin has a new threat to tackle! After Chase Elliott finally got back to his winning ways at Texas ending his 42-race winless streak, the JGR driver, who flaunts a boisterous confidence in himself, was seen acknowledging how Elliott might stand between him and his maiden Cup Series championship. And why would he not? After all, Elliott did give tough competition to the #11 driver for the lead before the latter was relegated to the back of the field at P30 after an unfortunate spin.

Denny Hamlin needs to be more cautious

Chase Elliott‘s long-awaited triumph is a momentous occasion for both the racer and his fans, who have been waiting for long. This victory also reiterates Hendricks Motorsports‘ dominance in NASCAR as this is the team’s fifth win in the first nine races. And surely Hamlin is well aware of this superiority as he now has one more opponent to beat to secure his lifelong dream.


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In a post-race interview, Fronstretch reporter Stephen Stumpf asked Hamlin about Elliott’s stint on the 1.5-mile oval track. He also asked if the HMS No. 9 could be a threat while going further into the season. Hamlin promptly answered that Elliott is a part of one of the two organizations dominating in the series right now (HMS and JGR) and drivers of both the teams are doing great. He further stated that Elliott definitely is a threat, as he possesses the capability to win races and even championships.

“I think they’ve slowly but surely gotten better really, as the season’s gone on. So, I mean it seems like you know, there’s a couple of organizations dominating right now and he’s part of one of them. And you know, this certainly what he’s been capable of for a long time. So definitely you know, he’s certainly a threat for sure. He’s done it before,” said Hamlin.

During the race, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin found themselves at the forefront of the field after a restart with only two laps remaining in regulation. They were pushing their limits, racing aggressively. However, Hamlin lost control on the outside while entering Turn 4, slamming hard into the wall. This incident triggered the 14th caution and extended the race into overtime.

Notably, this was the second restart within the last 10 laps of regulation. In the previous restart, Hamlin had been leading, but Elliott managed to pull ahead around the same time that another caution emerged. The caution was prompted by pole winner Kyle Larson’s wreck. All of these occurred during a chaotic four-wide scramble further back in the field.

As for Chase Elliott, there’s nothing but gratitude in his heart. After a momentous run in the beginning of his Cup Series career and a championship win in 2020, the driver was perhaps dying to get out of the slump that the 2023 season brought him. Now that he’s back in his form, the driver shared how tough it has been for him and his team to climb the “mountain” again!

For Elliott, the only way is up


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To say that the Texas race was eventful would be an understatement. With a record 16 cautions, the race sure caught fans at the edge of their seats. And it wasn’t easy for race winner Chase Elliott either. However, his troubles extend far beyond Sunday’s happenings as the driver fumbled to find his rhythm after being plagued with injuries and race absences for the majority of the 2023 season. Even when he returned, he seemed to be struggling to catch up to his opponents, as a prolonged absence had done more damage than anticipated.


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Talking about this and sharing how getting back to form is not something that can be done in a day, the driver revealed the impact his winless streak had on him. The longer it goes and the more ways you find to either not run good or lose races, you know it can make it tougher. It’s been an extremely important thing to me … to try to climb this mountain again together. And try to get back to where we need to be as a group.”

Chase Elliott even took a moment from his post-race celebrations to thank his fans for sticking around despite his lackluster form prior to his recent win. “A genuine thank you for sticking with us and continuing to root us on each and every week. It’s been, not all fun, but it certainly made us stronger as a team..”, the driver said.


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The win is sure to boost Elliott’s confidence in the 267 lap race. Especially when his last win came at Talladega in October 2022. Let’s see if he can capitalize on this win going ahead at the same Talladega Superspeedway in the upcoming race and in the rest of the season.


Written by:

Mamata Mukherjee


One take at a time

Mamata Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Combining her love for writing and motorsports she has created some interesting and in-depth stories on drivers like Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Joining ES with 3 years of experience in the field of writing, Mamata feels right at home in her role as a NASCAR Journalist.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath