Denny Hamlin: JGR Daytona 500 Win Bound to Happenby Kyle Pokrefky January 28, 2016 0 comments
Joe Gibbs Racing’s early dominance of Daytona Speedweeks has become a familiar theme in recent years, however, the team hasn’t been able to close the deal on a Daytona 500 win since 1993.
Since 2013, the year the new Gen-6 car was introduced to Sprint Cup competition, Joe Gibbs Racing has won five of the eight Sprint Unlimiteds or Can-Am Duels held prior to the Daytona 500.
In the respective years following the introduction of the new vehicle, however, the organization has turned in best finishes of 14th, 2nd and 4th in the Daytona 500s since with Denny Hamlin leading the way in each running.
Speaking during a teleconference while on the west coast on Wednesday, Hamlin says that he feels that Gibbs’s first Daytona 500 win in over 20 years is just around the corner.
“Yeah, it seems like we’ve won just about everything under the sun when it comes to those exhibition races or the duel races or the Unlimiteds, and we just haven’t won the 500,” Hamlin said. “It’s coming. I mean, we know that it’s bound to happen.
“We’ve had a lot of guys in position to win over the last 10 years since I’ve been there.”
Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota, points out that additional cars within the Gibbs family should make for a tipping point of sorts that could help deliver JGR’s second-ever Daytona 500 trophy.
Last year’s addition of a fourth full-time JGR Toyota piloted by Carl Edwards and the recent creation of a new alliance between Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing makes for five total Gibbs-affiliated cars entered for the 2016 season.
With reduced grid sizes of 40 also a possibility for 2016 with the potential addition of a new franchising system, the more friends you have on track, the better you will be; and with an eighth of the field consisting of Gibbs-affiliated entry, the numbers lie on JGR’s side.
“We’ve been getting closer, getting closer, and it’s going to happen,” Hamlin continued. “I don’t know when. But hopefully it’s this year, and obviously we have more teammates, we have more affiliations now with Martin Truex [Jr.], so we increase our odds the more cars we put out there.
“It gives us an ability to lean on some of our teammates for help when we need it to push each other for a win when it really counts, and I think that that’s something we struggled with in years past is not having as many cars in our organization as others and affiliations, and that definitely hurts you when it comes down to who’s going to get pushed to the win at the end.”
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