Kevin Harvick: Denny Hamlin Deserves More Credit in NASCAR Circles

Harvick highlighted that Hamlin often doesn't receive the credit he deserves

by Sead Dedovic
Kevin Harvick: Denny Hamlin Deserves More Credit in NASCAR Circles
© Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Sport

During his show "Harvick’s Happy Hour," Kevin Harvick reflected on the outstanding career of Denny Hamlin, stressing Hamlin's remarkable success in the sport. Interestingly, the guest on the show happened to be Denny Hamlin himself. 

In their conversation, Harvick highlighted that Hamlin often doesn't receive the credit he deserves, given his talent, qualities, and expertise. Kevin and Denny share a close relationship, allowing Harvick to observe Hamlin's continuous efforts to evolve and improve over the years. As a former NASCAR driver, Harvick recognizes that Hamlin faces criticism for various reasons, but he has always been impressed by Hamlin's work ethic.

“I’m gonna give you some props here, because I don’t think people give you the credit that you deserve, for your knowledge of the sport. The amount of work that you put into your craft, and what you do. And I think when — we get a lot of questions, and you get a lot of publicity about wearing a black hat, and people not liking you and this and that. But the thing to me, that is the most overlooked thing about you and Chris [Gabehart] right now, is the work ethic and time that goes into this."- Denny Hamlin said, as quoted by!

Hamlin is one of the owners of 23XI, with great ambitions for the team's future. The fact that he was willing to become an owner of a team while simultaneously competing for another speaks volumes about Hamlin's love for NASCAR. Having such passion for NASCAR is impressive. Kevin Harvick is delighted primarily by the fact that Hamlin manages to balance things. Harvick emphasizes that it is very difficult not to be distracted in the car, and so far, Hamlin has been able to do it.

“You started 23XI. You have a lot of things going on. But it seems like you can juggle all these balls,  and be able to perform in the car. It’s inevitable, that when you plug yourself into the car, there’s not going to be any distractions, and that’s tough to do.”- he continued.

Denny Hamlin had no problem answering Harvick's question about how he manages to strike such a balance. Right from the start, he emphasized the need to 'have a good tackle box.' 

The experienced NASCAR driver believes that each of us has multiple roles and it's necessary to behave and perform based on those roles. 

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin© Alex Slitz / Getty Images Sport

Making a distinction between various roles in life is crucial. 

Denny believes that he does a great job in this aspect. Although it's challenging to be equally prepared before every race and stay fully focused, Hamlin pointed out that he has never appeared unprepared before a race or practice. His aim is always to be maximally prepared and give his best.

The intention of this 43-year-old NASCAR driver is finally to win the NASCAR Cup Series and silence the critics who call him out. Despite being a driver with numerous victories in NASCAR, many criticize him for never having won the championship. Hamlin is motivated to prove them wrong and showcase his capabilities.

Denny Hamlin recalls the moments when he had a chance to win the championship 

In his conversation with Harvick, Hamlin reflected on the moments when he came close to winning the championship. The 42-year-old driver believes that 2010 was the closest he came to his goal, although he was also excellent in 2019. 

However, Hamlin doesn't intend to focus too much on such moments, considering that he did everything he could at those times. It's frustrating when you give your best, and the results don't come, but Hamlin is aware that he has had many great years and performances behind him. 

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin© Sean Gardner / Getty Images Sport

Looking back on his career, he stresses he could have approached 2010 differently, given that he was nervous racing against Jimmie Johnson. Nevertheless, sometimes things simply don't go as planned, so Hamlin is at peace regardless of what happens in the current or future seasons. Hamlin confirmed that he strives to progress day by day and create new opportunities for himself.

Denny Hamlin also discussed the adjustments he's made since the introduction of the Next Gen car in the NASCAR Cup Series. When asked about the biggest change in his driving style, Hamlin highlighted the transition in his pedal usage, particularly with the brake pedal.

Hamlin explained that historically, he's been an active driver, often using both pedals simultaneously and frequently adjusting the throttle. However, with the Next Gen car's characteristics, which include higher drag and lower horsepower, Hamlin found it necessary to change his approach.

Kevin Harvick Denny Hamlin