“I Really Contemplated That”- Joe Gibbs’ Superstar Reveals the One Time He Almost Called It Quits

Published 08/17/2023, 9:57 AM EDT

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Within the high-octane world of NASCAR, where twists and turns are the norm. Even the most seasoned drivers face pivotal moments that could have reshaped their destinies. Denny Hamlin, a luminary in the realm of motorsport, recently peeled back the curtain on a moment that nearly reshaped his trajectory. He looked back at a point in his life that tells a tale of contemplation and choice that almost led this superstar racer to chart a different course.

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In a recent conversation with the Athletic, Denny Hamlin opened up about a time when he seriously thought about moving away from Joe Gibbs Racing. A name that has become almost synonymous with Hamlin’s. However, he never acted upon that thought and has spent the entirety of his Cup Series career with Joe Gibbs. As the end of the 2023 season draws near, Hamlin unexpectedly finds himself without a contract. And his fans, it seems, have their own narrative of why that might be.

Denny Hamlin talks about the crossroads that could have taken his career in a different direction

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In a career adorned with triumphs, Denny Hamlin’s path has intertwined seamlessly with Joe Gibbs. However, beneath the surface of his enduring alliance. A tantalizing “what if” casts its shadow. When questioned about a potential detour from his familiar team, Hamlin revealed an intriguing facet of his journey that he once thought could become a reality.

In a recent conversation. The Athletic asked Denny Hamlin, “In your career, what is the deal that came closest to happening that ended up not working out?

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“I really don’t know how close it really was. But I was close enough with Dale Jr. to have those conversations about moving to (Dale Earnhardt Inc.),” said Hamlin. “I didn’t even have conversations with executives, it was just him. So I never really was close to any other deals as far as any other teams. Now, as a driver who has representation, if something comes to me, it’s pretty much, “It’s here if you want to do it.” Like, it’s not “Hey, letting you know this is what’s going on, it’s getting close.” I pretty much know it’s either a done deal or not, and then I have the choice to do it.”

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“So my thought in my brain at the time was, “Man, I could go over to DEI and be teammates with Dale Jr.?” I really contemplated that for a little while,” he concluded.

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As the 2023 NASCAR season charges forward, a familiar whisper of uncertainty hovers over Denny Hamlin’s future. Similar echoes to a past chapter, where another racing luminary faced a crossroads, resonate within the NASCAR community.

Fans are wary of the fact that Joe Gibbs could repeat what he did to Kyle Busch

With the checkered flag of the 2023 season waving ever closer, Denny Hamlin’s situation echoes that of Kyle Busch in the past. However, Hamlin’s assurance that “nothing big has changed” parallels Joe Gibbs and Toyota’s commitment to his continuity. While an official agreement remains pending, Hamlin’s role as co-owner of 23XI Racing also adds to the complexity of his impending decisions.

Fans, ever attuned to the sport’s intricacies, sense familiarity in this narrative. A year ago, Kyle Busch faced a similar scenario, transitioning from a long-standing tenure at JGR to a fresh alliance with Richard Childress Racing. And so, these echoes raise questions about the unforeseen turns that Hamlin’s career might take.

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Reflecting on Hamlin’s contract situation, fans express varying perspectives. One fan’s observation underscores the current climate. “This situation seems eerily similar to the Kyle Busch situation.” As discussions progress, the timing of Martin Truex Jr.’s contract announcement becomes noteworthy, with one fan suggesting, “The fact they already got Martin’s deal done and announced before Denny’s is also telling.” Amidst this speculation, one sentiment remains steadfast. The indomitable connection between Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing. Fans echo a common refrain. “Denny is the golden boy at JGR. He’s been there longer than any driver. Very little, if any, chance he’s leaving.”

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So what are your thoughts on the evolving narrative of Denny Hamlin’s contract situation with Joe Gibbs Racing? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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Veerendra Vikram Singh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. With a natural affinity for motorsports, he brings a unique perspective to his coverage of everything NASCAR. His love for sports extends way beyond NASCAR, encompassing Formula 1 and MotoGP and a few other motorsports as well.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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