“Very Surreal”: Denny Hamlin Reflects on Tying Bill Elliott’s Impressive Record

Published 10/07/2020, 1:45 AM EDT
Sep 27, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) leads driver Chase Elliott (9) and driver Alex Bowman (88) during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


On Sunday night, Denny Hamlin secured a win at the Talladega Superspeedway. This secured his berth in the Round of 8 playoffs, along with Kurt Busch. Moreover, in doing so, Hamlin recorded his 44th career win, tying him with former NASCAR driver Bill Elliott in the all-time list.

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Naturally, the #11 driver was absolutely thrilled at that revelation. He idolizes Elliot Sr, thus making the win even more exciting.

Speaking to the media, Hamlin opened up about the new record. He said, “The 11 car, I’ve been No.11 my whole life. A lot of it is when I got into go‑kart racing when I was a kid.

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“Bill Elliott was running the Junior Johnson No.11. I’ve always been No. 11, purple and white 11. Crazy it all worked out that way. Tying a guy that I considered the best, a guy I idolized, it’s very surreal for me.”

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What next for Denny Hamlin?

It is worth noting that his Talladega win is his seventh win of the 2020 season. On the road to 44 wins, Hamlin overtook the likes of Bobby Isaac, Matt Kenseth, Tim Flock, and Mark Martin. Among his current competitors, he ranks fourth behind Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch.

Sep 27, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) leads driver Kyle Busch (18) and the field during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, with Johnson set to hang up his boots at the end of this year, Denny Hamlin will become the third among active drivers. If he is focusing on breaking records, the next targets are Buck Baker, Herb Thomas, Tony Stewart, Junior Johnson, and Ned Jarrett.

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Heading into this weekend’s race at Charlotte, Hamlin will be firmly focused on catching Kevin Harvick. For Harvick and the other playoff drivers, it is a race to get into the top 8. Hamlin and Kurt Busch already secured two slots, leaving six up for grabs.

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Dhruv George

11974 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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