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Denny Hamlin Spills Out the 5-Word Ability Rick Hendrick’s Superstar Had But His Team Lacked in Texas

Published 09/26/2023, 3:33 PM EDT

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The Round of 12 kicked out in stunning fashion last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. While 23XI Racing had a mixed day, Hendrick Motorsports relished the race with William Byron coming out victorious in the end. Surprisingly, Denny Hamlin felt his team lacked a specific ability one of Rick Hendrick’s drivers possessed in Texas and it was not Byron.

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There is no doubt how the Michael Jordan and Hamlin-owned Cup Series team has surprised many this season. With both their drivers making it to the Round of 12, it has been a delightful run this year. However, the race in Texas saw some concerning signs.

Denny Hamlin pinpoints what 23XI Racing drivers lacked in comparison to Rick Hendrick’s star driver


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Most certainly, Denny Hamlin would be a proud owner after having both his team’s drivers in the playoffs. After all, it was something that he expected from both of them as he stated earlier in the season. While 23XI Racing has done well, both Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick are in a worrying position right now.

After the race at Texas Motor Speedway, Wallace and Reddick sat in the 9th and 10th position respectively. While both of them are, respectively, just 2 and 3 points below the cutoff line, it is not going to be easy in the remaining two races in the Round of 12. All of it could have been very different had things turned out differently last Sunday.


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Wallace finished in the pole position in the qualifying race and looked strong in the early stages of the main race. Even Tyler Reddick had an impressive start as he went on to win Stage 1. However, they failed to achieve something that Rick Hendrick‘s star driver Kyle Larson managed to.

Hamlin specifically highlighted this in the latest episode of his podcast Action Detrimental. He said, “This was an off week for Reddick. He didn’t run that well, not certainly as, as good as I thought that they would. Bubba ran good. He was good out front in traffic. They were kind of middle of the road, you know, again, it just didn’t look like they had the speed, the all-out speed.”

However, despite leading the race on multiple occasions, Hamlin explained the 5-word ability that Larson possessed but 23XI Racing drivers lacked. It was the ability to pull away from the pack. In his words, “Like when you’re upfront leading, you should be able to just walk the dog. If you’ve truly got speed, speed, you’re gonna walk the dog and pull away, pull away from the pack.”

While it was a disappointing end to a positive start for 23XI Racing, Wallace couldn’t help but criticize himself for his third-place finish.

Bubba Wallace left in guilt despite having a memorable run at Texas Motor Speedway

After his amazing run in the qualifying race on Saturday, Bubba Wallace picked up from where he left off. With his pole position, he did a superb job in leading the pack as he went on to lead 111 laps, a career-high for the 23XI Racing driver. However, as Denny Hamlin pointed out, his car just didn’t have the speed to pull away.

Naturally, Wallace was upset after the race as he spoke to the media. He said, “Third time I fooled myself starting on top. These guys gave me the right information. 14 is tight and he sent it off in there. I wasn’t going to stick, but that’s what he’s got to do. We’re racing for a win and just hate it.”

WATCH THIS STORY: NASCAR Insider Exposes Bubba Wallace’s Playoff Secret


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The #23 driver further added, “I should have kept my line in the three and forced William (Byron) to get tight. You’re still vulnerable in these cars, right? I’ve just upset myself. I really needed a win there. It’s a good showing, I don’t know where that puts us. I don’t care, but I know what I did … I choked!”


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Well, it was a pity seeing Wallace not go all the way despite being on a solid run. Having said that, things look tricky for both him and Reddick. Will we see both the 23XI Racing drivers in the next round? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Priyank Mithani


One take at a time

Priyank Mithani is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports with a passion for motorsports that began in his childhood. Over the years, he has been following the sport meticulously, and his insights are highly respected within the NASCAR community. Priyank is a devoted fan of Kyle Busch and has closely followed his career for years.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal