Denny Hamlin signs extension with Joe Gibbs Racing | NASCAR news

Hamlin has competed in the NASCAR Cup Series for the team full-time since his rookie season in 2006, winning 50 races.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — One of NASCAR’s winningest active drivers is staying with the team he’s been with his whole career.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday that Denny Hamlin has signed a multi-year extension with the team to continue piloting the No. 11 Toyota. Hamlin has competed in the NASCAR Cup Series for the team full-time since his rookie season in 2006.

“Joe Gibbs Racing has been my home for almost 20 years now,” Hamlin said in a release. ”My relationship with Joe (Gibbs), my team, and everyone at JGR means a lot to me. We have accomplished so much together over the years. 

With Gibbs, Hamlin has won 50 races, tying him for 14th with Junior Johnson on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list.

Hamlin has been with the team since signing a developmental contract with JGR in 2004. He made his first NASCAR starts in the NASCAR Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series that year. His first cup series start came at Kansas in October 2005. 

“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 in the release. “He has been a big part of Joe Gibbs Racing ever since then and we look forward to that continuing for years to come.”

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Hamlin has been one of the top competitors on the track since his career began. He’s finished in the top five in points nine times, including second in 2010 by just 39 points to Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin and Junior Johnson are also tied as the drivers with the most wins to not have a Cup Series championship. 

In addition to competing for Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin co-owns 23XI Racing with NBA legend Michael Jordan. The team fields two cars, the No. 23 Toyota driven by Bubba Wallace and the No. 45 driven by Tyler Reddick. 

Hamlin announced on his podcast “Actions Detrimental” that 23XI Racing will continue to partner with Toyota.

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Speculation mounted around Hamlin’s future plans as he’s racing in the final year of his current contract. Some believed he would field a third car for himself with 23XI Racing if a deal could not be reached with JGR.

Hamlin’s hopes for his first championship took a slight hit on Sunday. Hamlin led a race-high 177 laps in the playoffs-opening race at Darlington before a tire issue took him out of contention for the win. Hamlin finished 25th but still sits in fifth place after the first race of the round of 16.

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