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Kyle Petty declares Denny Hamlin will be one of the greatest NASCAR drivers ever

Nick Profile Picby:Nick Geddes03/19/24

NickGeddesNews

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin picked up Cup Series win No. 52 in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

It was one of his more impressive victories of recent memory, given that the race was essentially a tire management race. Teams were flying through sets of tires in Stage 1, leading to NASCAR authorizing Goodyear to pass out an additional set of tires during the race to each team. Experience became a big factor in determining the winner of the race, which Hamlin has plenty of.

Kyle Petty came away thoroughly impressed with Hamlin’s run over the course of 500 laps. Petty, speaking on a NASCAR.com video, went as far as calling Hamlin one of the greatest drivers of all-time — championship or not.

“Sunday afternoon, we saw an artist. And that artist’s name is Denny Hamlin. Denny Hamlin ran through the limits of his tires, but never over the limit. That’s a hard, hard thing to do. It’s hard to be that patient. That’s why Denny Hamlin has won so many races. That’s why Denny Hamlin is a Hall of Famer. Believe me, a Hall of Famer,” Petty said. “That’s why Denny Hamlin, whether he ever wins a championship or not, will be one of the greatest racecar drivers ever to set his rear end in a car because of what you saw Sunday afternoon. He painted the outside, he painted the inside, he painted around people, he painted in front of people. He did everything he had to do.

“… I’ve said for Denny Hamlin to stop saying this, but I’m going to give him the right to say it after yesterday’s race and I’ll paraphrase: He beat your favorite driver.”

Denny Hamlin in search of first Cup Series title

Hamlin, 43, has a case to be on the best drivers of all-time, though a Cup Series championship would go a long way in cementing his status. Perhaps 2024 will be his year after nearly two decades of coming oh so close.

“We’re in a really, really good place,” Hamlin said. “As long as I continue to do a decent job, I think that we can win a lot of races this year. Obviously, counting the Clash, we got two wins out of the first six. I said to many friends and family, this will be a big year for us.”