Anyone who has followed Denny Hamlin’s career knows one thing is certain, he loves racing at Martinsville Speedway.
Hamlin has scored 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins in his storied career and has five victories at Martinsville Speedway, which is tied with Pocono Raceway for the most wins at one track by Hamlin.
Hamlin is also focused for the fall race at Martinsville and knows all too well that winning the First Data 500 can guarantee him a spot in the Championship 4 as he continues his quest for that elusive first NASCAR Cup Series crown.
This year’s First Data 500 is scheduled for Oct. 27 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR) and once again kicks off the Round of 8 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
“Martinsville is going to be very pivotal,” said Hamlin. “We’ve always seen great battles there. I feel like it’s the greatest race in the playoffs other than Homestead.”
The Chesterfield, Va. native scored his most recent win at Martinsville Speedway in 2015 and although it’s been a few years since he visited Gatorade Victory Lane and took home an iconic Grandfather clock, he still loves competing on the tight half-mile track.
“Martinsville is obviously one of my favorite tracks and a place where we’ve had a lot of success, so our FedEx team feels good about what we can do there,” said Hamlin.
In addition to his five wins – including three in a row from the fall race of 2009 through the 2010 season – Hamlin has finished in the top five in 14 of his 27 starts at the track with three runner-up finishes.
Hamlin once again had a strong car in the spring race at Martinsville Speedway only to have his chances for a win end after some woes on pit road.
“We had a really good FedEx Toyota,” Hamlin said. “I thought we had a second- to fourth-place car depending on the scenario. But, I lost some spots on pit road, and we had a penalty for an uncontrolled tire and had to go to the back. We had to fight back toward the front, but we made a good day out of it.”
Hamlin was able to come home fifth and will attempt to tie NASCAR Hall of Famers Fred Lorenzen and Cale Yarborough with his sixth win and become the seventh driver with six or more victories at Martinsville Speedway next Sunday.