Denny Hamlin officially scratched his name off of this year’s Silly Season list with the announcement that he has signed a multi-year contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing, where he will remain as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series competitor and driver of the No. 11 JGR Toyota TRD Camry.
The news comes as the 42-year-old Hamlin from Chesterfield, Virginia, is currently campaigning in his 18th consecutive full-time season with JGR in NASCAR’s premier series and 17th as a Playoff competitor as he is one of 16 competitors currently vying for the 2023 Cup Series championship.
”Joe Gibbs Racing has been my home for almost 20 years now,” Hamlin said in a released statement. ”My relationship with Joe, my team, and everyone at JGR means a lot to me. We have accomplished so much together over the years. I’m excited to finally announce this so we can put all our focus on chasing the championship.”
Hamlin, who first joined Joe Gibbs Racing as a development competitor in 2004, made his inaugural start in the Cup Series at Kansas Speedway in October 2005, where he first piloted JGR’s No. 11 entry. After competing in the final seven scheduled events of the 2005 season, where he notched three top-10 results and his first pole position at Phoenix Raceway, he became a full-time Cup Series competitor for JGR, starting in 2006.
Since his debut in 2005, Hamlin has made 641 career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series, all while driving JGR’s No. 11 entry, and is one of 15 competitors to reach 50 career victories to date. Among his top achievements as a Cup competitor include three Daytona 500 victories, three Southern 500 victories, the 2022 Coca-Cola 600 victory, the 2015 All-Star Race victory, three Shootout victories and the 2006 Rookie-of-the-Year title, with his best points finish being a runner-up result in 2010. Having been named one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers this season, he has also achieved 40 poles, 217 top-fives, 333 top-10s, 13,920 laps led and an average finishing result of 13.2 throughout his Cup career.
In addition to being a full-time Cup Series competitor for Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin is also entering his third season as a co-owner of 23XI Racing a team he co-owns with NBA icon Michael Jordan. Currently, 23XI Racing manages two full-time entries for Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace, both of whom are competing in this year’s Playoffs. Since its inception in 2021, 23XI Racing has notched a combined four victories, two poles, 25 top-fives and 41 top-10 results.
Hamlin is coming off a 25th-place finish in this year’s Playoff opener at Darlington Raceway. Having scored two victories throughout the regular-season stretch to make the Playoffs, he currently sits in fifth place in the Playoff standings and is 27 points above the top-12 cutline to transfer to the Round of 12 as he continues his bid for his first championship in NASCAR’s premier series.
”It is amazing to think it has been almost 20 years since J.D. [Gibbs] first saw him race and we signed him to that first contract,” Joe Gibbs said. ”He has been a big part of Joe Gibbs Racing ever since then and we look forward to that continuing for years to come.”
With his future plans set as a competitor, Hamlin’s bid for this year’s NASCAR Cup Series title continues this upcoming weekend at Kansas Speedway, a track where Hamlin won earlier in May and will serve as the second event in the Round of 16. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, September 10, at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.