It was not to be the special evening that Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin dreamed of. Despite being promoted into third after Elliott’s penalty, he eventually endured disappointment yet again.
However, when one looks at the big picture of his season, it was no doom and gloom at all. Hamlin secured seven wins across the regular season, including back-to-back Daytona 500 victories in 2019 and 2020.
Speaking in the post-race press conference, Hamlin stated, “No, no one has won more than we have over the last two years, so Daytona 500 two years in a row, Final 4 two years in a row.”
“Pretty proud what this team is doing and what we’re building towards. Proud of the effort.”
It is these few positives that have encouraged Hamlin ahead of what is to come next year. Despite the monkey on his back of not winning a championship yet, his focus would be to take it race by race in 2021.
In hindsight, a possible race win in the Round of 8 might have given Hamlin the necessary advantage at the front of the grid. This is something he will reflect on during the winter break, before recharging his batteries to put in a stronger effort next year.
“We’ll come back and do it again next year. Looking forward to it. We’ll win as many races as we possibly can to get ourselves back in Phoenix again and with another shot.”
“But proud of this whole Joe Gibbs FedEx team for giving me cars that are capable of winning every week,” concluded Hamlin.
Hamlin did come close once in 2010, only to be usurped by eventual champion Jimmie Johnson. Breaking the duck of a maiden title in any sport is tough. If there is one man that has the will to do it, then it probably will be Denny Hamlin.