“More Status Quo” – Denny Hamlin Believes ‘Regular NASCAR Winner’ Will Emerge Again at Homestead-Miami

Published 02/26/2021, 9:20 AM EST
Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


The results in the first two races of the NASCAR Cup Series 2021 season turned all the predictions and expectations upside down. Two first-time Cup race winners emerged in Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell. However, Denny Hamlin believes normal service will resume this Sunday onwards.

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The opening race of the season was the Daytona 500, on a superspeedway, which McDowell won. The field then moved to the first road course race of the year, where Hamlin’s teammate Bell emerged victorious.
This Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami speedway is the season’s first race on an intermediate track.

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Hamlin believes that since the Cup Series now gets into a part of the season that will see more 1.5-mile races, the likes of Kevin Harvick, himself, and other regular winners will be in Victory Lane more often.
“I think it will be more status quo on where we were last year,” Hamlin said in a recent media interaction. “That doesn’t mean me and Kevin, since it’s a mile-and-a-half, that we are going to dominate,” he added.
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Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Hamlin feels the top teams’ resources will now come into play

Hamlin, who won last year’s Cup race at the track, feels that the resources, or the lack of them that mid-tier teams have, will now play a bigger role and will decide wins, eventually.
“With the mid-tier teams, this is where the resources that they don’t have will come into factor a little bit more,” Hamlin feels.
Having said that, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver does not feel that his teammate Bell is a mid-tier contender. Right after the Daytona 500, Hamlin had also said that McDowell‘s win does not surprise him as it came on a superspeedway.
“I don’t think I would call the 20 car (Bell) mid-tier. And I don’t think I would call the 34 (McDowell) a shock because we were at a superspeedway,” Hamlin said on the same.
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Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell (20) celebrates winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Hamlin is a favorite at Homestead-Miami – one of his best tracks

However, he feels that the ‘superstars’ will now start to win more races and the next few races will see the big names book their playoff spots with early wins.

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I think the winners’ list is like, ‘Oh wow, where (are) our superstars?’ But we are about to get into a chunk of the season where you are going to start to see some of your normal winners in the bracket,” he expressed.
Talking about superstars, Hamlin himself is a strong favorite going into this weekend’s race. He already has two top-five finishes and now goes to another track where he has a great record.
The 23XI Racing co-owner starts the race on pole position, alongside Team Penske’s Joey Logano.

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Aayush Majumdar

932 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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