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Denny Hamlin Credits JGR Short-Track Program Improvement with Top Five Finish at Phoenix


By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer — Cover photo by Nigel Kinrade Photography

Denny Hamlin continued his solid 2021 season Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

He finished the race from where he started: third. Leading 33 laps, Hamlin stayed within range late but didn’t have the speed to catch the leaders. The third-place finish matched his season-best finish so far and was the 183rd top-five finish of his career. The biggest thing that the organization took out of Phoenix was speed on short-tracks that they seemed to lack last season.

“Yeah, I think we are happy with that,” said Hamlin. “Obviously, we want to win with our Offerpad Toyota but certainly, the short tracks are something we want to put a lot of emphasis on this year. We just didn’t have the results on the short tracks that we wanted last year, but getting the first short-track win here for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) – 1, 3 is a good sign that we worked on the right things and we are headed in the right direction.”

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. Hamlin earned the victory at Atlanta in 2012 and finished fifth last season. 

Christian Koelle
Christian Koelle returns to Kickin' the Tires in 2022 for his second season. Koelle mainly covers the ARCA Menards Series, East, and West for Kickin' but also provides photography. He also serves as the Executive Vice President with Overbey Photography handling scheduling and assignments. Christian's favorite tracks are Nashville Superspeedway, Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Salem Speedway, and Phoenix Raceway to name a few.

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