One of the most popular questions to pop up in any conversation with or involving Denny Hamlin is when the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is going to win his long overdue championship. The #11 FedEx Toyota Camry TRD driver is one of the most experienced on the field in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season and has often been referred to as the best to not have won a championship.
In light of seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson making his return to the highest echelon of stock car racing after his stint in the open-wheeled NTT IndyCar Series, Denny Hamlin delved deeper into why the ultimate prize in the sport has eluded him for so long, along with what he thinks the future holds for Johnson this year. The 42-year-old spoke about the former Hendrick Motorsports driver's legacy in the sport, along with how he affected other drivers around him, saying:
"I hate it. I hate that he's coming back. Just because as the guy that, you know, I just put on this pedestal like, unbeatable. Just super talented, like he was the guy. And I always said I hate I raced in the Jimmie Johnson era, like damn it. I was so unfortunate. How many championships would I have if I didn't have to race against him."
Hamlin also elaborated on how he thinks Johnson's comeback in the sport is most likely to go in the same teaser video of his much-anticipated podcast Actions Detrimental with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Media. He said:
"I guess I don't know what the motivation is for him because he's got such a strong legacy and a strong resume. I hate tainting what I'm going to think about him if he comes in and struggles, which is the most likely scenario."
Denny Hamlin elaborates on Travis Pastrana driving a third 23XI Racing car in the 2023 Daytona 500
It has been quite some time since 23XI Racing announced its third entry into the 65th run of the Daytona 500 in 2023, slated to be driven by popular stunt driver Travis Pastrana. Denny Hamlin, the co-owner of the team, elaborated on what made him choose Pastrana as a candidate for the event.
"Travis (Pastrana) came to us and obviously with a great opportunity and we were just honored for him to choose us to go on this endeavor and knock off this bucket list item for him."
Watch Denny Hamlin take to the LA Memorial Coliseum for the 2023 Busch Light Clash next weekend.