WATCH: Hendrick Motorsports Legend Darrell Waltrip’s Meeting With ‘Denny Hamlin’ Look-Alike Unearthed

Published 06/21/2022, 2:30 PM EDT
May 29, 2022; Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) wins the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2006, actor Jon Heder attended the NASCAR Cup race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Heder is best known for playing the titular role of Napoleon Dynamite, which is a cult classic movie. At the time, he and fellow actors David Spade and Rob Schneider were promoting their new movie, the Benchwarmers.

It is worth mentioning that he bore an almost uncanny resemblance to a certain Denny Hamlin.

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In that same race weekend, he spoke to former NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip, who was a Napoleon Dynamite fan. Apparently, Waltrip wanted the actor to quote a well-known line from the movie. However, Heder corrected him and said, “Dude you got it wrong, DW. It goes, ‘Tina! Come, eat some ham!'”.

May 29, 2022; Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) takes the lead on the restart in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, the line was still wrong and the actual dialogue was “Tina, come get some ham”.

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Though it is worth noting that the movie was released two years earlier. So one could not really expect Heder to remember the exact line after so long.

Where did the Denny Hamlin comparisons come from?

Interestingly enough, a few fans observed that Heder almost looked like a doppelgänger of Denny Hamlin. Admittedly, Heder was not an exact look-alike because he had shoulder-length blonde hair. Meanwhile, Hamlin sports short brown hair on his head, and the 2006 season was also his first full-time Cup season.

Admittedly, since he was just a Cup rookie at the time, nobody would have made the connection so quickly. Sadly for Hamlin, he didn’t perform particularly well at Atlanta that year, finishing 31st in his first race. Fortunately, he redeemed himself on the second visit that year and notched up a fine eighth place, his 17th Top 10 finish of 2006. In the following race, he finished in the Top 10 again, before back-to-back 3rd place finishes in the final two races.

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Fast-forward to several years later, and Hamlin is now a veteran NASCAR Cup Series driver. In his career, he has amassed a grand total of 48 Cup Series wins, all for the Joe Gibbs Racing team.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Chase Elliott & Denny Hamlin Combine to Give Ross Chastain “An A** Whipping”

Sadly, he has often missed out on a Cup Series title, coming close in the 2010 season when he finished 2nd. Now, he will have to try yet again this year for his maiden title.

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Dhruv George

13228 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author 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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