Points Finish 11th, 0 Wins, 10 Top Fives, 17 Top Tens, 31 Top Twenties, 12.6 Average Finish, 12.1 Average Running Position, 380 Laps Led, 91.37 Driver Rating
Denny Hamlin is a versatile driver who’s good on many different track types. Where he really stands out are venues were “skill” comes into play. By “Skill” I mean, look for him to be at his best at short tracks, shorter flat tracks, worn out intermediate tracks and road courses.
Intermediate tracks really weren’t a strong suite for Denny Hamlin last year. With a new rules package that could quickly change for Denny Hamlin this upcoming season. At 1.5 mile tracks which are visited numerous times throughout the season he hasn’t been to victory lane since Chicagoland 2015.
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – B+
Denny Hamiln is a good performer at intermediate tracks and in 2019 I think there’s a good chance he’ll be a driver on the rise on this track type. Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the best organizations at adapting to rules changes and those will be quite extensive at intermediate tracks in 2019.
Last season at intermediate tracks from Michigan #1 until the conclusion of the season minus Las Vegas #2 (9 total races), Hamlin had 1 top five, 4 top tens, a 12.3 average finish and a 13.8 average running position. In none of those races was he a contender to win and his average finish is very reflective of his level of performance.
Some key intermediate tracks where I would look to target Hamlin in 2019 are Darlington, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Homestead and Dover.
This upcoming season at intermediate tracks I would look for Denny Hamlin to typically be a low-double digits driver who’ll have a great chance to finish in the top ten.
Flat Track Fantasy Value – A-
Denny Hamlin is a strong performer at flat tracks. Last year he took a step back at these venues, but I think he has a great chance to return to form in 2019. On this track type he’s capable of competing for a top ten at every flat track.
At shorter flat tracks, Denny Hamlin has historically been at his best. Last year at these venues he started the season strong coming home with finishes of 4th (Phoenix) and 3rd (Richmond) the first two races. In the three that followed that he finished in the teens between 13th and 16th. In 2019 I would look for him to compete for a top ten at all three shorter flat tracks.
At the bigger flat tracks, Hamlin should also been considered a top ten contender. At Indy he’s been really good in recent seasons. He finished 3rd last year and in 4 of the last 5 races he’s finished in the top 5. At Pocono I think Denny Hamlin is viewed as a legend by many, but he’s really about a 10th place driver. Last year he finished 10th in the summer and was around 10th place good in the spring until he was caught up in a late wreck.
Short Track Fantasy Value – A-
Denny Hamlin is one of the premiere short track drivers in NASCAR. At all three venues he’s capable of reaching victory lane and ranks as one of the better drivers in the series.
I would give him an “A” on this track type, but I’m a little worried he might be on the decline, or at the least it needs to be noted he had an off-year in 2018. Last year on this track type he scored the 6th most points. That sounds good, but he only finished in the top ten twice and in 4 of the 6 races he finished between 12th to 16th. Also for the season he had a 10.2 average finish and a 9.7 average running position.
Martinsville is his best short track. He’s a five-time winner who’s finished in the top five 50% percent of the time and in the top ten 73% percent of the time. Last year he was a top five contender in both races. He finished 2nd in the fall and in the spring he led 111 laps but finished a misleading 12th.
At Richmond, Hamlin has been consistently strong. He finished 16th last fall, but in the previous six races he finished 6th or better.
Last year at Bristol he had a pair of 14th place finishes. In 4 of the 5 races prior to that he finished in the top ten.
Plate Track Fantasy Value – A-
Denny Hamlin is a strong plate racer who’s one of the best on this track type. When it comes to making a default pick its hard to do better than him. Over the last five season’s in terms of points accumulated he’s ranked in the top six and his average points ranking is 4.2. Last year he scored the 6th most points.
At Daytona he’s one of the best, but he’s been in a rough stretch since winning the 2016 Daytona 500. Since then in 4 of the 5 races he’s finished 17th or worse. Last year he finished 3rd in the Daytona 500 but in July he wrecked and finished 38th.
At Talladega he’s been more successful in recent races and over the last five events his 7.6 average finish ranks as the second best. I’ll note in the last three fall races he’s finished 6th or better. Last year he finished 4th in the fall and 14th in the spring.
In 2019 at plate tracks I would look for Hamlin to have a successful season and rank as one of the better drivers in the series.
Road Course Fantasy Value – A-
Denny Hamlin is a very strong performer at road courses. Last year on this track type he scored the 8th most points, had an 11.7 average finish and had a result between 10th to 13th every race. In the two prior seasons on this track type he scored the most points and finished in the top 4 every race.
Sonoma has been a strong venue for Hamlin and he currently has three straight top tens. Last year he finished 10th, in the two prior seasons he had results of 2nd and 4th.
At Watkins Glen he’s also performed well in recent races. He finished 13th last year, in the two prior seasons he had results of 4th and 1st.
Last year at Charlotte when the Roval made its debut he finished 12th.
In 2019 at road courses I would look for Denny Hamlin to compete for a top ten every race.