"The competition has stepped up," claims Denny Hamlin after NASCAR Las Vegas race

NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400  - Practice
Denny Hamlin sits in his car during practice for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin seems to be on a mission to go points racing as often as he can during this year's NASCAR Cup Series season. The 41-year-old veteran driver, who is often regarded as one of the best drivers to have never won a championship, seems to be on course to change that statistic in 2022.

Denny Hamlin was seen behind the wheel of his instantly recognizable #11 FedEx Toyota Camry TRD fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing during last Sunday's South Point 400. The 267-lap-long race marked the start of the 2022 Round of 8 races, which will decide which four drivers ultimately battle it out for this year's ultimate prize. Team Penske's Joey Logano punched his ticket into Championship 4 with a win at Sin City, while Hamlin sits six points above the cutoff line with a P5 finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Las Vegas marked @dennyhamlin’s fourth top-five finish since the start of the #NASCARPlayoffs

The Tampa, Florida native touched upon how other teams and drivers have elevated their performances as the season draws to a close after the 400-mile-long race, and said:

"I don't know we had a winning car. I struggled on restarts. I couldn't hold my position. Yeah, just needed to be faster, honestly. The competition has stepped up. My car drove pretty decent. Certainly a lot better than yesterday coming from 31st and fifth in the second stage, fifth in the race. It's an OK day."

Denny Hamlin also spoke about how he thinks the #11 crew execution during the race was spot on and said:

"We just need a little more potential in the car to have more speed. In qualifying, all of us were kind of off. It's just something we have to work on. Right now, I don't believe we're the heat by any means, but we're executing well, and that's something we didn't do well early in the season."

Denny Hamlin gives a piece of his mind on Kurt Busch's retirement announcement

Kurt Busch recently sent waves into the NASCAR Cup Series world as the veteran driver announced retirement from full-time competition in the series in 2023. Busch, who was sidelined due to concussions sustained at Pocono Raceway earlier this year, made the decision not to return to the sport after a long forced sabbatical and made his decision official recently.

Busch's team co-owner Denny Hamlin recently reacted to the news and said:

"Certainly it's a loss for our team. I really wanted Kurt to be a part of this for atleast two years and possibly a third year. For him to only get a half season is not what we intended."

Watch the complete interview below:

Denny Hamlin on Kurt Busch’s decision to not race full time next year and how Busch has handled the last few months trying to recover from a concussion.

Watch Denny Hamin take on Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend for the Dixie Vodka 400.

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Edited by Anurag C
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