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via Imago

via Imago

Hendrick Motorsports have started the 2023 season with a bang. With two top-five finishes and four top-ten finishes, everything seems to be going their way except for one thing. Losing Chase Elliott has been a big blow for them. Denny Hamlin recently spoke on it while ignoring one of Elliott’s teammates. He also added an unorthodox driver to the discussion, citing his underrated potential.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver loves to speak his heart out in his unfiltered style. His opinion doesn’t always strike a chord with his team, and this time wasn’t any different. In his latest podcast episode, he ignored one of the HMS drivers in the process to make his choice and have his say on HMS’ #9 dilemma.

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Denny Hamlin picks his choice of “underrated” driver from the NASCAR Cup Series

Hamlin discussed several topics involving Hendrick Motorsports on the recent episode of his podcast “Actions Detrimental”. When asked to name an underrated driver currently in the NASCAR Cup Series, he said, “It’s so hard to tell about underrated drivers because the equipment does matter, it certainly does matter.
The 42-year-old explained how it would be too easy to select William Byron, given his recent heroics. He said, “I don’t want to sit here and give easy answers saying William Byron because he’s just won two in a row. But I said before Daytona that he is going to be my pick to be in the final four.” 

USA Today via Reuters

Eventually, Hamlin did give his say with a detailed reasoning behind the choice. The 2020 Daytona 500 winner said, “But I’m gonna say that I’d like to see Corey LaJoie in a fast car. I think he gets a lot out of the equipment that he is in… He’s got me sold on the fact that he gets the most out of his equipment. And if he gets in the same ride that I am in, he can go just as fast.”
Interestingly, Corey LaJoie was rumored to replace Chase Elliott before Josh Berry was officially confirmed. Hamlin further explained how he wishes LaJoie too gets an opportunity like Berry did. He said, “And he’s [LaJoie] been saying it for many years but man it’s a lot of pressure when you finally do get that opportunity and hopefully, he does get that opportunity.
“I don’t want to take it away from Berry because I think he deserves that ride…So, I don’t want Berry to lose his races because I think he is such a great talent, but it takes time.” While Hamlin said this, turns out, even the fans were rooting for LaJoie to replace Elliott.

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Like Hamlin, plenty of fans wanted Corey LaJoie to replace Chase Elliott. Obviously, they were left disappointed when Hendrick Motorsports announced Josh Berry as Elliott’s replacement for oval races and Jordan Taylor for the COTA race.

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One of them even echoed what Hamlin said recently. The fan said, “Corey is a stud and he’s proven it in the 7 this year. If he races in the #9, he will run top ten majority of the races and might even win a race.

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It was disheartening for the fans, but nothing much can be done about it. The HMS faithful will be looking to get behind Berry and wish a speedy return for Elliott.