The package has been delivered.
Inside sits a document quite important to a driver who has never raced for another team in either of NASCAR’s top-two divisions. That driver is Denny Hamlin, who was discovered by Joe Gibbs Racing approximately 14 years ago.
The 36-year-old will continue to call JGR home for the foreseeable future, announcing Thursday afternoon at a rainy Daytona International Speedway that the team and he have signed a contract extension, keeping him in the No. 11 Toyota Camry.
“I can’t tell you how good the dynamic is with our race team,” Hamlin said during a press conference at Daytona. “The drivers, the crew chiefs, the management and the ownership has all been really good. When you have a sponsor that gets you and understands you like FedEx does, it makes my job much easier off the track, which I think makes our performance on the track better.”
The multi-year extension keeps Hamlin at JGR after signing on with the organization in 2004. Along with Hamlin, JGR has signed an extension with longtime sponsor FedEx, which began sponsoring the No. 11 car in 2005 with the late Jason Leffler as the primary driver.
“FedEx does a wonderful job at activating at each and every one of these tracks in a big way,” Hamlin said. “They create a great fan experience for not only employees, but customers of theirs as well. The name of the car is something fans resonate to. They recognize the FedEx car. It’s been around for many years, and it will still be around for many years.”
Hamlin remains with the team as the second-longest tenured driver with one organization, only behind seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who has been with Hendrick Motorsports since late 2001.
He entered 2017 in the final season of a four-year contract with JGR. Details of the extension were not disclosed.
“FedEx has been essential to the growth and stability of Joe Gibbs Racing through the year,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “They are the standard-bearer for how a company’s involvement in NASCAR can meet and exceed business objectives through commitment to success in all facets of the relationship.”
One year ago, Hamlin won the Daytona 500 for JGR, the second Daytona 500 win in the team’s history.
Throughout Hamlin’s time with JGR, he has 29 career wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, along with 15 triumphs in the XFINITY Series. He is coming off a season that featured career-bests in average start (6.3) and average finish (11.8).
He has never gone a season without at least one victory besides 2005, when he ran seven races in preparation for his rookie year in 2006.
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