Denny Hamlin officially signs multi-year deal to stay at Joe Gibbs Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - AUGUST 25: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota, waits on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 25, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Joe Gibbs Racing is avoiding a repeat of last year.

In 2022, after talks throughout the season got nowhere, the team lost star driver Kyle Busch. Since then, Busch has gone on to score three wins driving the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing in a reinvigorated career, while rookie replacement driver Ty Gibbs failed to make the Playoffs, despite admittedly promising performances throughout the season.

But the team has ensured that its current roster of stars will stay, at least for one more season. Martin Truex, Jr. signed a one-year extension before the Michigan race at the beginning of August. Now, leaving Darlington in early September, the team announced on Monday that Denny Hamlin will remain having signed a multi-year deal.

The driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry is the team’s oldest driver, having debuted in the Cup Series with JGR back in 2005 after advancing through its development pipeline. Since then, he’s made 600 starts for the team and scored 50 wins. He is yet to score his first championship, but remains in the contention in the Playoff picture this season.

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

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – AUGUST 31: NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin speaks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Media Day at Charlotte Convention Center on August 31, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“Joe Gibbs Racing has been my home for almost 20 years now,” added Hamlin himself. “My relationship with Joe, my team, and everyone at JGR means a lot to me. We have accomplished so much together over the years. I’m excited to finally announce this so we can put all our focus on chasing the championship.”

During his time at the team, Hamlin has followed Gibbs’ example himself and started his own team, 23XI Racing. The decision puts him in a unique position in the garage, owning a team separate to the one he drives for.

But, in a season where manufacturer alliances seem more tenuous than ever, with Legacy Motor Club leaving Chevrolet in favor of Toyota and suggestions that Stewart-Haas might leave Ford when its contract with the manufacturer expires at the end of this season, Hamlin resigning with his Toyota team makes 23XI’s immediate future clearer.

“23XI will continue its relationship with Toyota into the future,” Hamlin made clear on his Actions Detrimental podcast. “Nothing really changes. We’re going to continue on the path that we’ve been on.”

Hamlin staying with Gibbs, while not a surprise, clarifies a few loose ends throughout the garage even as some questions still remain.

Owen Johnson