Denny Hamlin, FedEx sign extensions with Joe Gibbs Racing

Denny Hamlin in the garage area at Phoenix Friday. (Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Denny Hamlin has signed an extension to drive the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with FedEx continuing as his sponsor, the team announced at a press conference on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

“Obviously, we’ve had a great relationship over the 12 years of my career,” Hamlin said of his association with FedEx, which began with his debut race at Kansas Speedway in October 2005. “To do it with one team and one sponsor is very rare in our sport…

“I’m definitely blessed, and I wake up every day thanking my lucky stars that I’m in the position I’m in.”

Hamlin has 29 victories in 398 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He’s also the defending winner of the Daytona 500. Hamlin came closest to a championship in NASCAR’s foremost series in 2010, when he led the standings entering the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway before finishing second in points to Jimmie Johnson.

Hamlin has qualified for the postseason playoff in 10 of his 11 full-time seasons, the exception coming in 2013 when he missed four events after suffering a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra in a wreck at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

For every lap Hamlin leads in 2017, FedEx will donate $111 to Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit dedicated to keeping children safe on the move in vehicles, at home and at play. For every Hamlin victory, FedEx will contribute $11,000 to the cause.

Should Hamlin win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, FedEx will donate $111,000. The Safe Kids Worldwide road safety program is particularly important to FedEx, which on a typical day has 150,000 vehicles in service throughout the world.

“They’re naming all these big charities,” Hamlin joked. “I thought I was probably their biggest charity.”

Though the terms of the new agreement were not disclosed, Hamlin did allow that he’d be “very gray” when he completes his tenure at Joe Gibbs Racing.

FedEx is among the longest-tenured team sponsors in the sport, citing the success of the program as its motivation for continuing in a long-term agreement.

“It is very powerful,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president, FedEx Integrated Marketing and Communications. “It’s something we measure very carefully and closely. It’s a significant investment and it has been. We hold ourselves accountable to make sure it is the right thing and I can tell you it pays for itself many times over in the value it brings.”

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