One of the biggest stars in the NASCAR Cup Series has added another sponsor to his list of partners. Denny Hamlin, who drivers for Joe Gibbs Racing, agreed to a multi-year endorsement deal with the sunglasses brand Shady Rays. Neither party involved provided financial details.
Shady Rays revealed the news with two photos on social media. One photo showed Hamlin donning a pair of sunglasses. Another featured him, his daughter Taylor, and the family dog as they relaxed outside. The pooch wore a pair of Shady Ray sunglasses to add some flair to the photo.
Hamlin gave a brief glimpse into the partnership during the two-week break in the schedule. He posted photos from his weekend off that showed him and his daughters enjoying their time together at Lake Norman. Hamlin just happened to have on the same t-shirt and pair of sunglasses that appeared during the Shady Rays announcement.
Hamlin has a long list of partners in the Cup Series that help him fight for wins each week. The heavy-hitters include Domino’s, FedEx, Toyota, Coca-Cola, and Jordan Brand. Now he adds a rising sunglasses brand to the list while joining Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola as NASCAR drivers to rock Shady Rays before races.
Hamlin Will Wear the Shady Rays While Fighting for Wins
The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing will have his new shades on his face when he suits up for the trip to Michigan International Speedway, a race that marks a critical point in the season. Hamlin currently trails Kyle Larson in the regular-season standings by 22 points, and he will need to make up ground at the two-mile oval.
Fortunately for Hamlin, he will finish out the regular season at two tracks where he has previous success — Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. The veteran driver has five combined wins at the two tracks, including two of the past three Daytona 500s.
Hamlin last reached Victory Lane at Michigan in 2011, taking the checkered flag after leading eight laps and holding off Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch. The race marked his second consecutive season with a win at Michigan.
While he has not won at Michigan since 2011, Hamlin has continued to contend for the checkered flag. He enters the 2021 race with three consecutive top-10 finishes at the track, including runner-up finishes to Kevin Harvick in 2019 and 2020.
Hamlin Will Have to Make Up Ground Early at Michigan
Locking up a win will help Hamlin chase down Larson, but he will have to make up some ground early. NASCAR released the starting order for Michigan on Wednesday, Aug. 18, confirming that the No. 11 JGR Toyota Camry will start the race on the fifth row next to Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman.
The reason for Hamlin starting further back in the pack is how he ended his race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe spun Hamlin after taking the green flag on the final restart, sending him off of the track and opening up the door for AJ Allmendinger to lock up Kaulig Racing’s first-ever Cup Series win.
Hamlin was in the lead at the time of the collision, but he fell to the middle of the pack. He ended his day 23rd overall, which directly had an impact on NASCAR’s starting lineup formula. Though starting ninth is preferable to being outside of the top 20 like other playoff drivers such as Michael McDowell, Brad Keselowski, and Aric Almirola.