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The NASCAR Roster Portal supplied the update following the Daytona weekend. It listed Hamlin as the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota GR Supra and Jason Ratcliff as his crew chief. Hamlin will substitute Sammy Smith, who commenced the last a few races and secured a leading-five complete at Watkins Glen Worldwide.
This begin continues a latest development for Hamlin and JGR. The Virginia indigenous has made just one Xfinity Series begin just about every calendar year from 2018 to 2021. All have been at Darlington Raceway. Though Hamlin has also suited up at the monitor 14 times because 2004.
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Hamlin Has Extensive Results at Darlington Raceway
Suiting up for an Xfinity Collection race at Darlington Raceway supplies Hamlin with multiple chances. Very first, he can get some far more laps at the track even though getting ready for the opening race of the Cup Sequence playoffs. 2nd, he can incorporate far more wins to his total.
Hamlin has created 14 starts off at Darlington in the Xfinity Collection. He has posted best-5 finishes in 10 of these races while winning five occasions. Just about every time that Hamlin achieved Victory Lane, he did so right after starting up from the pole.
Hamlin’s most recent Xfinity Collection start off at Darlington Raceway marked only the 2nd time that he did not crack the best 10. However the very first (2019) was thanks to disqualification. He completed 12th in general in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra right after beginning 14th overall.
Hamlin Aims for Yet another Successful Playoff Opener
Even though Hamlin did not get his sixth Xfinity Series race at Darlington in 2021, he turned in a substantially greater efficiency throughout the Cup Collection race. He won the playoff opener right after heading winless in the frequent period.
Hamlin was not the story early in the Cup Collection race. Kyle Larson turned in a dominant efficiency early at Darlington, finishing second in Phase 1 and profitable Stage 2. He experienced a strong car, but Hamlin took the guide working with pit system throughout the final phase.
The veteran driver remained in the guide even just after Chase Elliott was pinched into the outside wall. This broken the No. 9 Chevrolet and introduced out the warning with much less than 40 laps remaining.
Hamlin took a gamble and stayed out, which paid out off as he restarted from the front row and then held off the two Larson and Ross Chastain to win for the 1st time in 2021. Far more importantly, he punched his ticket to the Spherical of 12.
Hamlin sits in a various situation coming into the 2022 playoffs. He is the sixth seed following securing two race wins — Richmond and Charlotte — and 3 stage wins. He is not seeking his initial earn of the yr, but he will try to incorporate an additional in get to get to the Round of 12 for the eighth time in his Cup Series occupation.
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