Denny Hamlin, FedEx re-sign with Joe Gibbs Racing

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The No. 11 car is going to continue to have a familiar driver and sponsor combination.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday that Denny Hamlin and FedEx had signed contract extensions to stay with the team. Both driver and sponsor had contracts that expired at the end of the 2021 season. FedEx is one of the longest-tenured sponsors in the Cup Series and a rare company that sponsors a car for a significant majority of races.

“I’m so fortunate to have the support of FedEx behind me throughout my career,” Hamlin said in a statement. “I take a tremendous amount of pride in having the opportunity to represent them not only on the racetrack, but also in the community through the countless programs they have supported for the better part of these past two decades.”

The contracts for both FedEx and Hamlin were termed “multi-year agreements” by the team.

Denny Hamlin has 44 Cup Series wins. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Denny Hamlin has 44 Cup Series wins

Hamlin, 40, has only driven for JGR throughout his Cup Series career. He took over the No. 11 car full-time in 2006 and won two races in his rookie season.

He’s won 42 more races since, including three Daytona 500s. Hamlin is eyeing his third-consecutive Daytona 500 win on Feb. 14. A victory in the 2021 Daytona 500 would make Hamlin the first driver to win three 500s in a row and tie him for second-most Daytona 500 wins with Cale Yarborough.

Hamlin is also the most successful active Cup Series driver without a Cup Series title. He was one of the favorites for the 2020 championship with seven wins but finished fourth in the season finale as Chase Elliott won the title.

Hamlin also assumes the role of team owner in 2021 as 23XI Racing embarks on its first season. The team co-owned by Hamlin and Michael Jordan will field a JGR-aligned Toyota for Bubba Wallace.

Lots of potential 2022 free agents

Hamlin’s the first of many big-name drivers in an upcoming free-agent class to solidify his future. Teammate Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman all have deals that are up at the end of the season.

The 2021 season was set to be the first with NASCAR’s new and revamped Cup Series car. But the introduction of the car — designed to save teams money — was pushed to 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic and its financial impacts on teams throughout the series.

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