Déjà vu would be just fine with Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin celebrates after his DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Denny Hamlin wouldn’t mind at all if history repeated itself during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.

Hamlin won the Advance Auto Parts Clash, and eight days later, the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota followed up with his first Daytona 500 victory, a breathtaking affair that saw Hamlin beat fellow Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. to the finish line by .010 seconds, a margin of roughly six inches.

Hamlin is well aware that winning The Great American Race back-to-back is one of the toughest feats in motorsports, so tough that only three drivers have accomplished the feat: Richard Petty (1973-1974), Cale Yarborough (1983-1984) and Sterling Marlin (1994-1995).

Hamlin also knows that ganging up with his Toyota teammates may not be as easy as it was last year, when Camry drivers dominated the event and swept the three podium positions.

“It was very important that we set out a goal – really an objective – to work together and really do everything we could to remain in a pack,” Hamlin said on Friday, taking questions from reporters in front of a “show” version of his Daytona 500-winning car. “It worked out phenomenally.

“But since then, everyone has seen that, and it’s going to be very hard to replicate anything like that ever again. Now that the competition’s seen it, it’s going to be hard to do. But you’ve just got to come up with a new plan, something they haven’t seen before.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.