2023 will be a pivotal year for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin as he is in the final year of his contract with JGR.
Having been with JGR for such a long time, it is hard to imagine Hamlin riding in the Cup Series for a team that is not JGR. However, the same could have been said for Kyle Busch, who left the team last season.
One of the leading factors for change was because of the lack of sponsorship after long-term sponsor M&M Mars left the team and NASCAR. But one advantage that Hamlin has over Busch is that Hamlin owns a Cup team.
Hamlin could find himself in a similar situation as his sponsor FedEx is also in its final season. The No. 11 driver has previously stated his desire to finish his Cup career with JGR. However, he has also said that he would like to race one season in the Cup Series with 23XI Racing. Whether this could be as early as 2024 remains to be seen.
One of the best drivers in the Cup Series, Hamlin is yet to win the championship to validate his status as one of the best drivers in NASCAR history. While he may not be as prolific as in the past, Hamlin still managed to win two races last season and was close to making the final four races.
There is also the possibility that Hamlin could retire from full-time Cup racing at JGR and continue to race part-time with 23XI Racing. However, the 42-year-old driver probably won’t be returning from full-time racing anytime soon. And it is upon JGR to keep their long-time driver in the team for a few more years.