Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin has achieved a massive amount in his Cup Series career, but there is still something he truly desires. He wants to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of the most important Crown Jewel Races.
Hamlin, who captured the Busch Light Pole at the 1.5-mile track on May 28, explained that he had utilized some previous practice reps and the bottom line to secure the fastest time during qualifying. He then confirmed that winning the Coca-Cola 600 would be very special, especially with his winless history at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I’ve had such fast cars here and such crazy luck that I’ve had here over the years,” Hamlin said after winning the Busch Light Pole for the Coca-Cola 600. “Mistakes that I’ve made that kept us from winning. I just really want to get this one, especially since I’ve been a Coke partner for all 18 years or whatever of my career.”
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Hamlin Can Join Another Prestigious List
The driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry has never won a Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has made 30 starts and posted 19 total top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile North Carolina track. This includes multiple runner-ups.
If Hamlin wins the Coca-Cola 600, he will capture his third NASCAR Crown Jewel. He already has three Southern 500 wins and three Daytona 500 wins. He just doesn’t have the Coca-Cola 600 win on his resume. He would also join Kevin Harvick on a prestigious list.
Harvick is the only active NASCAR driver that has captured all of the sport’s Crown Jewels. He has eight after winning the Daytona 500 once, the Coca-Cola 600 twice, the Southern 500 twice, and the Brickyard 400 three times.
Hamlin hasn’t won the Brickyard 400 during his Cup Series career, but this detail is less important during the 2022 season. NASCAR has stopped listing the race as a Crown Jewel since moving it from Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s oval to the road course.
Hamlin Will Battle an Employee Early
The Coca-Cola 600 will provide Hamlin with another opportunity to capture the elusive Crown Jewel, and he will have an early advantage. He will lead the field to the green flag after edging out an employee during qualifying.
Hamlin posted the fastest lap at 29.399 seconds and 183.680 mph. This was a mere .003 seconds faster than Kurt Busch, who drives the No. 45 Toyota Camry for Hamlin’s 23XI Racing. Busch’s best lap time was 29.402 seconds at 183.661 mph.
Busch will pursue another goal of his own. He is fresh off a win at Kansas Speedway, which he used to secure a spot in the playoffs. Now he will try to beat his boss and fellow competitor while adding another Crown Jewel to his collection.
Busch has two wins in the prestigious NASCAR races. He captured the 2017 Daytona 500 while driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. He also won the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 while driving for Team Penske. Now he will pursue another win while starting on the front row next to Hamlin.