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Debate

Is Denny Hamlin's competitive spirit a blessing or a curse for his daughter?

NASCAR racing is indeed a competitive sport; there are no two ways about it. More so, it‘s the survival of the fittest, as we’ve seen multiple teams fold or take an exit after their failed efforts to leave a mark on stock car racing. But Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan have set out on a journey to script their history in NASCAR on the back of their ruthless and competitive mindset.

Now we all know how fierce and driven Michael Jordan was during his time at the Chicago Bulls; this is well documented in the documentary ‘The Last Dance’. Although Hamlin is too a ruthless competitor, perhaps MJ’s influence may have further shaped his recent resurgence and dogged nature. But it turns out Hamlin’s competitive nature is a family heirloom that he has carried on with him and passed on to his kids.

Denny Hamlin didn’t need MJ’s influence to add an extra edge to his racecraft

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Hamlin has been influenced by Michael Jordan’s sheer competitive nature and his drive to be the best at his game. Back when he was young, he would tune into NBA games just to catch a glimpse of his greatness on the court. Little did he know that in the future, the sporting personality he admired so much would turn out to be his partner.

His co-host of the podcast show, Jared Allen, pointed out that Brad Daugherty on the NBC broadcast made a point about how MJ’s arrival could’ve further fueled Hamlin’s competitive nature. He also asked him if Jordan had shaped his persona and added to his ideals of going all out to get the desired goals. In response, the JGR veteran explained via his show Actions Detrimental,I think that you can draw conclusions to get back to the question. I would say Michael did not have a big influence on my competitive nature”. 

He went on to add that his drive to excel at basically everything is in his blood, and he can also see a glimpse of that in his elder daughter, Taylor. “I just been this a**hole for a long time. I mean, I don’t want to beat you; I want to put my foot on your throat. So that’s the way I’ve always been; it’s in my blood. I see it in Taylor as well. She gets so frustrated when things don’t go her way when she’s being competitive. I’ve seen it when she plays basketball or other sports.”

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However, this approach at times has also pushed him toward the bitter end of things. Perhaps this is the reason that he is now perceived as NASCAR’s villain by a majority of the fans and supporters of the sport.

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Being extra competitive hasn’t totally worked in Hamlin’s favor

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While he might have 54 wins to show for his relentless pursuit of being the best, he just hasn’t been able to cross the final hurdle- which is winning the championship. Though people rallied behind Jordan’s hustle and competitive nature thanks to his illustrious career, the same cannot be said for Denny Hamlin. He is time and again reminded of his inability to conquer NASCAR’s highest peak despite his all-in approach.

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Acknowledging the flaw to this approach of his, Hamlin added, “I think is it a character flaw probably a little bit … If they are that person that is just over the top cares about perfection, it makes them really good at what they do. But sometimes that character flaw comes up, and it’s a negative when it comes to your interaction with others and things like that.”

There’s no doubting Hamlin’s commitment to the sport. Be it competing as a driver or contributing as a team owner. But only a championship win on either end of his career will allow the fans to put him in the conversation of the greatest NASCAR personalities.