Denny Hamlin’s career is a lot like Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s not the greatest of all-time but it is rather
On Sunday the Virginian captured his second Daytona 500 and his 32nd career Cup Series win. If Hamlin’s career ended today would he be a Hall of Fame driver?
Let’s run through Hamlin’s career statistics real quick.
- Raced over 10,000 times
- 32 Cup Series career wins, tied for 24th all-time with HoFer Dale Jarrett.
- 2 Daytona 500’s
- 2 Southern 500’s
- Mowed the grass in Virginia, in February
- 17 Xfinity Series wins
- 2 Truck Series wins
- 2006 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year
- First rookie to make the playoffs
- 49% of races Hamlin finishes in the Top 10
The biggest knock against Hamlin is he doesn’t have a championship. One could argue at this point he’s the best driver in the series without a title. Hamlin came close in 2010 with a second place finish, a collapse in the final race let Jimmie Johnson win his 5th in a row. Not great. RIP to that poor water bottle too.
However, Hamlin has put together a hell of a career up to this point. It’s easy to knock a guy who hasn’t won a title. Hasn’t performed in the biggest moment. And hasn’t consistently been in contention year after year. It’s harder to knock a guy who has put up the numbers Hamlin has though.
If Hamlin has 8 more wins in him through the remainder of his career that will tie him with Mark Martin at 40 career wins. Mark Martin is a Hall of Fame driver with no championship. You have to put Hamlin into the Hall if that happens. Martin has no Daytona 500 wins, NASCAR loves to tout the number of “Crown Jewel” races a driver has won. Hamlin has four, that has to account for something.
Denny Hamlin is a HoFer. By the time Hamlin retires the number of guys from the past that should be in now, will be in. Assuming Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick all don’t retire the same year as Denny he’s a shoe-in for the Hall.
Follow us on Twitter @ApexOff