Hamlin says he has no rivalry with Larson

LEBANON, TENNESSEE - JUNE 29: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota, enters his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 29, 2024 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

In the midst of their matching three-win seasons, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson have raced hard, door-to-door often this season resulting sometimes in hard feelings and damaged race cars. However, the two golfing buddies, have never made it a huge public issue.

Asked about the style of racing between the pair and if it was actually a true rivalry, Hamlin wouldn’t go that far.

“I don’t know I just think there’s different [kinds of rivalries] ones for sure,’’ Hamlin said. “I think there are rivalries that come from drivers that probably don’t respect each other. They have a lot of speed, but don’t like each other or deliberately run into each other.

“I don’t think anyone’s deliberately running into each other, although it does happen. Certainly I’ve had my fair of mistakes and he’s been on the bad end of those but it’s come from competition, wanting to beat him. He’s one of the guys, one of the best in our sport, if not THE best. So I challenge myself more when I get to race with him and it does happen often and it does happen towards the front more times than not.

“We know each other’s driving styles and we do things around one another that combat passing each other and that usually means there’s tight quarters conditions.’’