Denny Hamlin on expectations for Noah Gragson in 2024: He could win the Daytona 500

"I know he’s worked really, really hard. He’s super motivated."- Hamlin said.

by Sead Dedovic
Denny Hamlin on expectations for Noah Gragson in 2024: He could win the Daytona 500
© Chris Graythen / Getty Images Sport

Forecasts are already being made regarding the new NASCAR season, from which the fans have high expectations. It can be said that the 2023 season gave us everything we expected, so it is reasonable to expect that 2024 will offer much more for everyone. 

Several names are mentioned as drivers who could make a breakthrough this season, while there are also talks about those who could slowly begin to experience a decline. 

The Actions Detrimental podcast was an opportunity for Denny Hamlin to make his predictions for the new season. 

One of the drivers for whom he decided to give forecasts is Noah Gragson

This 25-year-old driver was often the target of criticism from NASCAR fans. Since this year he will be part of Stewart-Haas Racing, Gragson is motivated to silence the critics and make a big success. 

Denny mainly concentrated on his team's progress. If they can resolve certain issues, Gragson might have a good opportunity. It's a fact that Gragson is a determined driver with a strong desire to succeed. However, success doesn't solely depend on him.

“I just don’t know what to make of Noah, because I know he’s worked really, really hard. He’s super motivated. It’s a lot of like, what does Stewart-Haas do this year? I think, do they have a resurgence? Do they stay the same? I don’t think they get worse.

I’m looking at the drivers he’ll probably have to leapfrog. It’s tough, but I’ll probably say worse. But it’s close. It’s close.”- Denny Hamlin said, as reported by

Given how incredible NASCAR has become in the last few years, it's hard to make concrete predictions about what to expect. The Daytona 500 is a race from which fans always have huge expectations. However, looking at the previous winners, it is difficult to judge who could win. 

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin© Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images Sport

Denny Hamlin also spoke about it. This experienced NASCAR driver is not surprised if Gragson makes a breakthrough in the Daytona 500 and achieves victory. On the other hand, Hamlin will not be surprised even if Gragson experiences a complete failure. A lot will depend on the Stewart-Haas team and how hard they worked on the new car. If they have a car from last season, it is really hard to expect any positive things.

“I mean, he could win the Daytona 500. I mean, realistically speaking, nothing is a shock in the 500 anymore,” Hamlin added. “I mean, the last few winners we’ve had have been [Michael] McDowell, [Austin] Cindric and [Ricky] Stenhouse. So you just never know. … But I just don’t know. It would not surprise me if Noah goes out there and contends for a playoff spot. It also would not shock me in the world if he’s in the low 20s. So I’m not sure.

I think it’s just kind of dependent on the organization, and whether they take the step, which I think with the new car, they probably should, or would.”

Fans of Stewart Haas and Noah Gragson think this season could be much better for them. They realized where they made the biggest mistakes, so it is natural to expect that they fixed it. Gragson's talent is noticeable. However, if other things are not compatible with your talent and driving qualities, it is difficult to expect to make a success.

Noah Gragson talks about the expectations of the 2024 season and the pressure

Noah Gragson talks about how success in racing positively influences different aspects of the team. When you win or, at the very least, when you are at the top, the atmosphere within the team improves. You become more confident and motivated to maintain the same pace. However, if things aren't ideal from the very start, it can trigger a domino effect, leading to even bigger problems.

He admits to feeling a bit of pressure to perform well, but he clarifies that it's not for any specific reason. Instead, he stresses the importance of performing well, stating that overall improvement happens when the entire team achieves success together. A positive team spirit is what each member of the team must strive for. If there is not a good relationship within the team, it is also felt during the races.

Gragson believes that positive outcomes on the racetrack lead to a better team atmosphere and performance, creating a chain reaction of success within the team.

We will see how much Noah can really do this season. The ambitions of him and his team are huge. They hope that 2024 will be one of the best seasons for them. They have quality, but they have to prove it on NASCAR tracks.

Denny Hamlin Noah Gragson