Denny Hamlin 2014 Stats: Points Finish 3rd, 3 Poles, 1 Win, 7 Top Fives, 18 Top Tens, Average Running Position 13.6, Average Finish 14.3, Laps Led 363, Driver Rating 91.5
Strengths – Look for Denny Hamlin to have his best days at plate tracks, short tracks and flat tracks. He’s also more than capable of finishing well at intermediate tracks but last season he was a step behind the elite teams.
Weaknesses – Denny Hamlin and road courses don’t mix. In the last five years at those venues he has a 30.5 average finish.
Track Type Fantasy ValueKey=Elite > High > Moderate >Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – High
Last season at intermediate tracks Denny Hamlin was good but not great. In 2014 he scored the 14th most points, had a 13.8 average finish and only had two results in the top five. It should be noted he did miss one race (Auto Club Speedway) and if you give him a reasonable 20 points for that event he would’ve ranked as the 11th best in 2014.
Historically at these venues Hamlin’s best performances come at tracks where tire-wear is high. Last season a typical good day for him was a result between 7th and 13th.
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Flat Track Fantasy Value – Elite
Denny Hamlin is a good flat track driver. Last season on this track type minus his fall New Hampshire problem plagued race he had a 8.0 average finish and had a result in the top ten in 5 of the 6 races. At these venues he’s capable of performing well at both the big flat tracks and the smaller flat tracks.
Last season at the big flat tracks (Indy and Pocono) he had a 5.3 average finish and had a result in the top ten every race. At Indy last year he was very competitive and led 18 laps and finished 3rd. In 2012 at that crown jewel event he won the pole, led 27 laps and finished 6th. At Pocono Hamlin is always a popular pick. Last season he had results of 4th and 9th. In his career at Pocono he has four wins but his most recent was in 2010.
At New Hampshire last fall Hamlin started 4th, led 32 laps but finished 37th after having multiple problems. If he would’ve avoided trouble he likely had top five potential. In July 2014 he finished 8th and led 20 laps. In 2013 he was uncompetitive in both races but in 2012 he had results of 1st and 2nd.
Phoenix has also been a good track for Hamlin. Last fall he won the pole, led 24 laps and finished 5th. In spring 2014 he was around 12th place good but finished 19th after poor pit strategy at the end. In fall 2013 he was off and finished 28th. In the three races prior to that event he had results of 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
I will note in terms of giving him his elite fantasy value on this track type I’m probably being a little generous.
Short Track Fantasy Value – High
In his career he’s been an elite driver on short tracks but he’s been off his game recently and that’s why I have his fantasy value listed as high.
Martinsville has historically been his best short track. Last fall he finished 8th and led 68 laps. In the spring race last season he wasn’t as competitive and finished 19th. In fall 2013 he won the pole and finished 7th. In his career at Martinsville he has four wins and an 8.7 average finish.
Richmond has been one of his best tracks but he’s been down performance wise the last few races. Last fall he finished two laps down in 21st. That result matches how well he performed. In his next two most recent RIR races prior to that he had results of 21st and 22nd. In fall 2012 he had the best car and led over half the race but between the rain and the fuel mileage aspect the race took on it led to him finishing in 18th. Prior to that race he had four straight top tens. His Richmond average finish is 10.4.
At Bristol Denny Hamlin was the first driver to win on the current configuration. Since then he’s performed well but has a lot of asterisk mark finishes. Last August he finished 40th but it’s important to note he was leading when he was wrecked. In spring 2014 he won the pole and finished 6th. In 2013 he was also good in both races but walked away with finishes in the 20’s. If he can avoid problems, which is a big “IF”, I would look for him to come home with a good result.
Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – Elite
No driver was better than Denny Hamlin at restrictor plate tracks last season. At these venues minus the fall Talladega race where he choose not to race competitively because of his point’s situation he had a 3.0 average finish.
His lone win of the year came in the spring race at Talladega. Prior to his win he went through a tough stretch of races there. In 2013 he finished in the 30’s both races.
Nobody was better than Denny Hamlin at Daytona last year. In February he won the Sprint Unlimited, his Duel 150 and finished 2nd in the Daytona 500. In July he was a driver who survived the carnage and finished 6th.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – Low
Early in Denny Hamlin’s career he was a good road course racer. I don’t know what happened to him because he’s gotten worse with experience. I think he’s lost all of his confidence and I would be wary of picking him. He might be able to sneak in a good finish but his downward spiral is the real deal.
At Sonoma Hamlin finished in the top 12 in 3 of his first 4 races. Over the last five Sonoma races he has a best finish of 23rd and a 31st place average finish. Last season he finished 26th and had the 23rd best driver rating.
At Watkins Glen his success is also front loaded. In his first four races there he had four straight top tens. In the last five races there he has a best finish of 19th and a 30.0 average finish.