Denny Hamlin coy on if he seeks to invest in a team

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While Denny Hamlin declined to say Friday if he is trying to invest in Richard Petty Motorsports or help find an investor, he said that he will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and sponsor FedEx “as long as I want to drive.”

Questions have been raised about Hamlin looking into some form of ownership in a team. The 39-year-old is in his 15th full-time season in Cup. He’s never driven for a team other than Joe Gibbs Racing.

I don’t have anything to announce or to speak about when it comes to it,” he said to a question of if he’s trying to invest in RPM or help find an investor for the team that employs Bubba Wallace.

“I think that I’m always looking towards what I’m going to do after my driving career is over. I’ve got some great partners that support me and my decisions in what I will do for years to come. So, I don’t know. I wish I had something to announce, but I really don’t.

“There’s a lot of things up in the air that are still getting worked on, but I just got – I’ve got to win this weekend and next weekend, and that’s where I’ve got to focus, but certainly I believe that, no matter what, my career will be with Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx as long as I want to drive.”

Hamlin has won six races this season and has 43 career Cup victories. Every eligible driver with at least 30 Cup wins has been elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Hamlin was asked if the Next Gen car, scheduled to debut in 2022, makes it more attractive to get into team ownership.

“When I look at my career in racing, I’ve been around for 15 years in the Cup Series,” he said. “I always think about what I want to do afterwards. I don’t know that ownership will be it. I don’t know what my role will be, but I know that it will probably be in NASCAR in some kind of way, shape or form.

“I’m always looking at avenues that would allow me to stay in the sport beyond driving. Certainly, it’s a sport that I believe in. Certainly, the financial model hopefully will get better in the next few years for the team owners, regardless if I’m in it or not. But I don’t know. My focus has got to be on driving and winning a championship for Toyota and FedEx right now. If there’s ever opportunities to prepare myself for the future, then I look to capitalize on those.”

His immediate focus is Saturday night’s Cup regular-season finale (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC and the NBC Sports App).

Denny Hamlin’s Darlington throwback paint scheme to honor Darrell Waltrip

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Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx on Friday unveiled the paint scheme Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota will carry in honor of retiring broadcaster and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip for Darlington Raceway’s Southern 500 throwback weekend in September.

The car has a unique white, grey, black and orange paint scheme.

Waltrip attended the unveiling at Sonoma Raceway, which will mark the final race he will call for FOX Sports. NBC Sports takes over the remainder of the NASCAR Cup broadcast schedule starting next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

Here are several tweets that illustrate the paint scheme on Hamlin’s Darlington ride:

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Podcast: Why FedEx says a NASCAR sponsorship is worth a billion

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As a sponsor that has invested eight figures annually for 14 seasons in NASCAR’s premier series. FedEx has spent well more than nine figures promoting its brand.

But for all those millions spent, the amount of exposure has stretched above 10 figures annually.

In the most recent NASCAR on NBC Podcast, which highlights the sponsor’s long-term relationship with Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing, a FedEx executive shared a few interesting nuggets about how it tracks the efficacy of its NASCAR involvement.

“We measure it very closely, and we have more than a billion brand impressions generated from the No. 11 sponsorship each year,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, the senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications for FedEx. “It’s one of the reasons it’s important for us to be the sole sponsor of the No. 11 car.”

After selling off a few of its races last year, FedEx will adorn Hamlin’s No. 11 in every race during the 2019 season to gather those impressions, which Fitzgerald said cover myriad categories.

“It’s across everything,” Fitzgerald said. “Eyes on the brand at track, on broadcasts, on digital. Every place we’re able to activate the sponsorship”

Though the delivery and logistics company sponsors many sports globally (including golf, the NFL, international soccer and the NBA), its most visible spokesman is Hamlin, who scored his second Daytona 500 victory in February. The JGR driver has 33 victories with FedEx since 2006.

“He’s become a genuine extension of our brand and a real brand ambassador, and we’re proud of that,” Fitzgerald said. “He certainly understands our culture and business. He takes the time with customers and team members and does understand our business and what we represent and why it’s so powerful to have a long connection with the company and the brand.

“A lot of that can be credited to Coach Gibbs. Denny over time has watched and learned from the interaction with our brand and company. There’s no greater ambassador in sports for the FedEx brand than Coach Gibbs. That’s something that Denny has picked up from him and is a big part of it.”

FedEx also measures revenue generated through the business relationships fostered through NASCAR. More than 1,600 of its customers are entertained annually at NASCAR races by the company, which also considers the value of brand awareness.

“The overall mix, we get a lot of value,” Fitzgerald said. “NASCAR is a great example of the evolving media landscape. For example, with the advent of DVRs and other technologies that change the overall effectiveness of traditional broadcast advertising, the exposure you get from a race, which is DVR proof, you get tremendous brand value just being on that car lap after lap, race after race, and then in particular when Denny does something like amazing like winning the Daytona 500.

“When we host a customer at an event, we look at shipping volumes before and after, you can start to draw some conclusions of the effectiveness as a revenue generator. We looked at that closely.”

The special narrative edition of the podcast followed Hamlin on a trip to the sponsor’s headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, and included reflections by the driver on the origins of aligning with FedEx and what the future might hold

Hamlin, who will turn 39 in November, signed a multiyear extension with FedEx in 2017 and would like to lay claim to having only one sponsor through the end of his NASCAR career.

“I’d like to do one more contract beyond what I have,” he said. “What I have is long term. We’re not even in the middle of that yet. So I’d like to be here.

“It’s so rare. We thought Jimmie (Johnson) would finish (his career) with Lowe’s. I think there’s something to be said about that. To have someone who is with you from the start to the finish. It’s all about dollars and sense and whether you can make things work, but I’m with the company I believe in and hopefully believes in me through the course of my career. I’d like to go at least 43-ish.”

To listen to the podcast, you can click on the embed above, or listen via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you download podcasts.

Denny Hamlin says contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing is done

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DETROIT — Denny Hamlin said Monday his contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing is essentially done and just awaiting an official release by his team and sponsor.

“It’s just whenever they want to announce something,” Hamlin told NBC Sports after helping Toyota Racing Development unveil a redesigned Camry model that will make its debut with the 2017 season.

“It’s probably a better question for Gibbs and (sponsor) FedEx, but I think they’ll release something when they’re ready.”

Multiple sources familiar with the deal said the sides had agreed to terms. The sources requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Hamlin, 36, is entering the final season of a four-year extension that he signed in June 2012 (while he still had more than a year left on his current deal).

The defending Daytona 500 winner has 29 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories with JGR since moving full time to the premier circuit in 2006.

He finished sixth in last year’s standings, the 10th time in 11 seasons that he has qualified for the playoffs (he missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2013 because of a four-race absence for a fractured back).

“Everything seems to be good,” Hamlin said. “I love where I’m at. Love my sponsor. Love my manufacturer. I don’t see any of that changing.”

Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin promoting Autism Speaks awareness campaign


The May 31 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway is named the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. As part of the lead up to the race, the Joe Gibbs Racing teams of Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota and Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Dollar General Toyota are working to help raise awareness for Autism Speaks by launching a text-to-pledge campaign to benefit the organization.

Beginning today, you can begin the process of donating by texting RACING to 30644. You can donate as much as much as you want, starting at $5.