Look out for Denny Hamlin on the ‘Tricky Triangle’

Hamlin a threat at Pocono

Denny Hamlin

If you’re looking for a favorite in this Sunday’s M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400, look no further than Denny Hamlin.

Indeed, the veteran NASCAR Cup driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing has an enviable record on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” of Pocono Raceway, which combined with his performance so far this year makes him the man to beat.

In 32 career races at the northeastern Pennsylvania track, the 41-year-old Tampa, Fla., native has six wins, 14 top five finishes and 21 top-10s to go along with 797 laps led and only three DNFs. His last win there came in June 2020, when he registered his 41st career victory and passed Mark Martin on the all-time wins list, though his most recent effort there a year later resulted in a less-than-impressive 14th place finish.

This season, he’s fifth in the points standings through late June, with two wins, three top fives and three top 10s plus 287 laps led and four DNFs. Among those was his victory in May’s Coca-Cola 600, a wild race that included a 12-car wreck, 18 caution flags and 16 DNFs and took five hours and 619 laps to complete. In the end, Hamlin held off Kyle Busch on a restart for the win.

He’ll be in the field Sunday, July 24, when he does battle with the likes of Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, William Byron, Joey Logano and Busch in the 2022 M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400, in a race airing on USA Network.

Player Profile

Full Name: James Dennis Alan Hamlin

Birth date: Nov. 18, 1980

Birthplace: Tampa, Fla.

Height/weight: 6 feet/160 pounds

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Car: No. 11 Toyota Camry

Honors & achievements: Daytona 500 winner (2016, 2019, 2020); Cup All-Star Race winner (2015); Cup Series Rookie of the Year (2006); first and only rookie to qualify for the Cup playoffs (2006)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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