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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2016 Recap/2017 Outlook – Denny Hamlin

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Denny Hamlin‘s 2016 season started out in grand fashion by winning the Daytona 500 in the closest finish in event history. However, despite three wins in 2016, untimely pit road penalties and inconsistency kept him from his ultimate goal of winning a championship.

Car No. 11

Crew Chief: Mike Wheeler

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Wins: 3

Top-Fives: 12

Top-10s: 22

Points Finish: 6th

2016 Quick Summary: Hamlin’s 2016 started out with a bang with a win in the 58th annual Daytona 500 after leading a race-high 95 laps and holding off Martin Truex Jr. in the closest finish in 500 history.

Hamlin didn’t see much success in the season’s first 12 races only recording three top-fives and five top-10s. However, he picked up his performance just after the halfway point in the season recording eight straight top-10 finishes including two more wins including his first road course victory at Watkins Glen.

Once the Chase started at Chicagoland Speedway, Hamlin put together seven top-10 finishes with a best Chase finish of third coming at Talladega and Martinsville in October.

2016 Highlight(s): Daytona 500 winner. Scored his first career road – course win at Watkins Glen in August. Won from the pole at Richmond in September after leading 189 laps.

2016 Lowlight(s): The April race at Martinsville was far from one of Hamlin’s shining moments at a track where he has had great success. After starting eighth, he hung around the top ten for most of the day until his race came to a premature end after only 221 laps after crashing in turn one.

2017 Outlook: Hamlin, Wheeler, and all the key pieces return to the No.11 team next season so that should mean we’ll see Hamlin make a return trip to the NASCAR playoffs in 2017. What remains to be seen however is if Hamlin can eliminate the mental errors on pit road and turn solid top-10 runs into top-fives and wins.

Hamlin’s JGR teammates Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch will all also return next season giving JGR one of the best driver lineups in the Cup Series.

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Justin Tucker

Been following Motorsports for over 30 years. NASCAR, Indy Car, F1. Earliest racing memory was Richard Petty's 200th Cup Series win. Currently resides in Ridgeway, Missouri. Favorite things to do outside of Racing is watching and cheering on the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kansas City Chiefs.