Denny Hamlin: "Honestly, I'm as fast as I've ever been"
Denny Hamlin, 42, is seeded third among the 16 drivers in the playoff opening race at Darlington Raceway. Despite only two victories this year, Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team has consistently competed for wins throughout the season, with three runner-up finishes and leading the fifth most laps in the series. Hamlin believes his team has improved overall speed on tracks of all sizes this year, something they haven’t had before, even though they have made it to the final four multiple times. Hamlin is confident that if they reach the final four, they will have the necessary speed at Phoenix. Although he has won 50 races and 40 poles, a series title is the only missing piece on Hamlin’s Cup resume. He has advanced to the Championship 4 four times but has never finished better than third. Hamlin feels that the pieces are in place for him to win a championship, and he is more prepared than ever with added experience.