Denny Hamlin Can Tie a NASCAR Legend at Martinsville Speedway

Denny Hamlin

Getty Denny Hamlin won his first career race in 2006.

The driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry has an opportunity to tie a NASCAR legend during the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 9 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1). If Denny Hamlin wins his second consecutive race of the 2022 season, he will snag his sixth grandfather clock and tie Dale Earnhardt on a prestigious list.

The seven-time Cup Series champion won six races at Martinsville Speedway during his career (13.6% of his starts). He first reached Victory Lane during the 1980 season before adding wins in 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1991. His final win took place during the 1995 season when he won five times and finished second behind Jeff Gordon in the championship standings.

Earnhardt is currently fourth on the all-time wins list for Martinsville Speedway. Jeff Gordon is third with nine wins while Darrell Waltrip is second with 11 wins. The King, Richard Petty, holds the top spot on the leaderboard with 15 trips to Victory Lane at the Paperclip.

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Hamlin Has a History of Strong Performances at Martinsville

Denny Hamlin

GettyDenny Hamlin celebrates a win at Martinsville Speedway in 2015.

The driver of the No. 11 has no shortage of success at the Virginia short track. He has five trips to Victory Lane, as well as an average finish of 10.2 in 32 starts. Equally important is the fact that Hamlin has only failed to finish two of the races that he has started at Martinsville Speedway.

While Hamlin has not won a race at Martinsville Speedway since the 2015 season, he has previously achieved a dominant run. The Virginia native won three straight races, starting in 2009 and continuing with a season sweep during the 2010 season. Hamlin led a total of 418 laps during this run, which included 206 during the 2009 race.

Hamlin has led more than 200 laps during three races at Martinsville Speedway. He won once, finished second in another (spring 2009), and he finished third in the most recent (spring 2021). Now he will have another opportunity during the spring 2022 race. Though there will only be 400 total laps instead of 500 due to the 7:30 p.m. ET start time.

Hamlin’s Teammate Will Push Him at the Short Track

Denny Hamlin

GettyMartin Truex Jr. (left) and Denny Hamlin (right) will be favorites to win at Martinsville Speedway.

The driver of the No. 11 will not be the only member of Joe Gibbs Racing with very favorable odds to win at the short track. Martin Truex Jr. will also be near the top of the list after several previous successful performances.

The driver of the No. 19 has three wins at Martinsville Speedway in his career, all since the 2019 season. He captured the playoff race in 2019, and he followed it up with the first race in 2020. Truex reached Victory Lane for the third time early in the 2021 season.

Along with his strong performances recently, Truex has a history of consistency with nine top-five finishes and 15 top-10s. Like Hamlin, he only has two DNFs in 32 starts at the short track. Though his average finish of 16.1 is slightly lower than his teammate’s.

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