Hamlin Going For Rare Daytona Double For Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7:30 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR R
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – For the second time of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, Denny Hamlin heads back to the annual July trip to the Daytona International Speedway as the defending Daytona 500 champion. This time, he’s hoping for better luck.
“The July race has always been pretty tough on us, finish-wise,” Hamlin said. “I think a lot of it is, you are getting to the point of the season that this is going to be some of the last great opportunities for the under-funded teams to go out there and get a win so they are a lot more aggressive. The racing itself seems to be more chaotic. It’s tough to avoid those crashes. Sometimes you’re in it, sometimes you’re not. In the summer, we’re in it, so we’ve got to figure out how to play it, to win i
When Hamlin won the ‘500 back in 2016, he finished 17th in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 that year. In his defense though, it’s not like anyone has much success in the Daytona double. That rare feat hasn’t happened since Jimmie Johnson did so in 2013. But, Johnson is the only one to accomplish that in 37 years.
Drivers to previously sweep the Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in the same season are Johnson (2013), Bobby Allison (1982), Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968) and LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969).
Also, if Hamlin can win, he would become only the 10th driver to win all Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at DIS (The Clash At DAYTONA, Duel At DAYTONA, DAYTONA 500 and Coke Zero Sugar 400). Other drivers to accomplish this feat are Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson.
Only Kurt Busch can accomplish that feat this weekend too.
On the season, Hamlin enters with two wins, seven top five finishes and 10 top 10’s. But, only one top five and two of his top 10’s have come in the last eight races overall. His best finish since his Texas win back in early April is fifth (three times).