As hard as it is to believe, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are still winless in 2021. Will that change on Sunday at Darlington Raceway as the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin? While Harvick hasn’t shown much promise of a breakthrough in recent weeks, Hamlin and his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team performed well in the final weeks of the regular season. Could Sunday’s race finally be his time?
“Every week we give ourselves a chance, so I’m excited for the playoffs to start — especially these first rounds of tracks,” Hamlin said, referring to Darlington, Richmond Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway — the three tracks that host races in the Round of 16. “We definitely want to just keep getting some momentum, keep performing well, and things will fall our way.” Despite being uncharacteristically shut out of Victory Lane this season, Hamlin is upbeat about his prospects of capturing his first Cup championship come November. He’s reached the Championship 4 in each of the past two years, ultimately coming up short.
“Every track we’re one of the top two to three favorites every week,” Hamlin said. “If Vegas (bookies) believe in us, more than likely everyone should. I like our chances. … I show up every week, and I love what I do because I know I can win. I would say some years haven’t been like that, so I’m really happy with where we are as a team. I’m very confident we’re going to win before the season is out, if not multiple times.”