Denny Hamlin wasn’t even sure if his recently operated shoulder would recover enough for him to compete in The Clash at The Coliseum, but lo-and-behold; not only did he race, but the JGR sensation bagged the first win of this season as well. However, a lion’s share of the race was controlled by coach Gibbs’ grandson and Hamlin’s teammate, Ty Gibbs. Although Gibbs crashed out on that last lap, sending the race into overtime, Hamlin’s seasoned eyes didn’t overlook the driving prowess of the #54 driver.
In a post-race interview, expressing how Gibbs has gotten better ever since he had emerged into the Cup Series arena, the 23XI Racing owner said, “He’s very young. He’s green. He is definitely green.” As a young driver, Gibbs asks his seniors a lot of questions and needless to say, that is the sign of someone who wants to excel in their career. “I think he’s going to have tremendous success this year. I think he’s going to be part of the playoffs. I don’t think that’s going to be a big shock to anyone,” added Hamlin.
Hamlin’s confidence in Gibbs is quite justified. In just his brief stint as a racecar driver, Gibbs has achieved several milestones which include an ARCA East wing at just the age of 16, an Xfinity triumph at 18, an ARCA Menards Series title at 19, and most recently, an Xfinity series championship at 20.
Hamlin admitted that Gibbs is far ahead of where the former was when he was of Gibbs’ age. “I was definitely still running late models for sure, and I don’t even know if I had won a late model race yet at this point. He’s certainly way ahead of that step,” explained Hamlin. According to him, people are going to talk about Ty Gibbs for decades, and with a bigshot team like Joe Gibbs backing him up, he is bound to make it big.
Denny Hamlin notices a boost in social media following
Thanks to ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’, the sport is garnering attention from what Hamlin called a “different crowd”. On that note, he revealed that he has noticed a major jump in followers over the last few days. “When you look at the area they’re form,” he said, “their gender, all that stuff, it’s a different crowd. I think certainly it’s getting out to people that probably have not seen NASCAR before from what I can see.”
It’s safe to say that the five-part docuseries is indeed serving its purpose. Hamlin feels like it is an excellent representation of the entire sport, with special attention to the playoffs and how they work. For any new fan, watching a NASCAR race right on top might seem out of context and hard to follow and that is where the series will play its role. “If you watch that, now you’re going to know when you flip the channel what’s going on in the middle of the race now,” he assured.
Even for the current fans of the sport, a lot of the work that goes into putting out the end product every weekend remains shrouded in darkness. The show brings that aspect of NASCAR under the spotlight as well. Denny Hamlin, like the fans, hopes there will be another season to the series and that newer faces will feature in it.