Denny Hamlin Makes Unpopular Prediction About Future at Darlington

Denny Hamlin at Kansas.

Getty Denny Hamlin before qualifying at Kansas.

Denny Hamlin is known for delivering hot takes weekly on his “Actions Detrimental” podcast. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver regularly offers his opinion on whatever is the hot topic of conversation for the day. During the May 6 episode, the podcast host initially talked about the history-making photo finish at Kansas before shifting his focus to the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington and Throwback Weekend. 

It was during that discussion that the three-time Daytona 500 champion made an unexpected prediction.

“The throwback thing has kind of lost its luster, in my opinion,” Hamlin suggested. “Especially when teams are throwing back to different eras. I don’t know. It’s almost confusing to me more than anything.”

After a brief conversation on Tyler Reddick and his throwback scheme in honor of Tim Richmond, the 23XI Racing co-owner returned to his feelings about throwbacks in general. 

“It was really cool the first year that everyone kind of bought in and it was very similar to eras and a certain decade,” he noted. “But it’s all kind of all over the board now. I’d be surprised if this goes past this year, for sure.”

Denny Hamlin Likes 2024 Hendrick Motorsports Throwback Schemes

Interestingly, just moments before Hamlin predicted how the waning interest in the nostalgia-filled weekend would ultimately end in it going away after 2024, he addressed this year’s current crop of paint schemes and was particularly fond about the work of his biggest on-track competition. 

“I think the Hendrick cars did an awesome job with their throwbacks,” he said. “All of them look fantastic. You’re certainly going to recognize their schemes from different eras, for sure.”

The HMS Throwback Weekend lineup includes: Kyle Larson throwing it back to Terry Labonte’s classic paint scheme, in which he drove the No. 5 car to the 1996 championship, Chase Elliott in a nod to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s race-winning No. 88 paint scheme in the 2014 Daytona 500, William Byron honoring the 2009 “Firestorm” paint scheme run by team vice chairman and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, and Alex Bowman in a nod to Jimmie Johnson and his 2002 rookie season. 

Hamlin Also Predicted Winning Title in 2024 

What was interesting is Hamlin’s prediction about Darlington’s future was his second prediction in as many days. During the pre-race rain-delayed show before the May 5 Kansas race, Hamlin appeared as a guest with the Fox crew. 

Clint Bowyer talked about how the 43-year-old driver had called his shot the week prior and won at Dover, and then encouraged him to do something similar about his chances of winning the title in 2024.

“Would you tell people that it’s finally this year is the year that you’re going to win the championship?” Bowyer pressed. “Just call it.”

“Alright,” Hamlin said. “This is it. This is the year. This is the year it’s going to happen.”

The declaration felt forced because Bowyer was urging him to say it. However, what Hamlin said on his podcast about Darlington’s future was unprompted. He genuinely believes that.

A year from now, Hamlin and fans will be able to look back and see if he was right in either prediction.