James Dennis Alan "Denny" Hamlin (born November 18, 1980) is an American professional stock car racing driver. He competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 11 Toyota Camry and part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 54 Toyota Supra, both for Joe Gibbs Racing. He has won 44 NASCAR Cup Series races, including the Daytona 500 in 2016, 2019, and 2020. In 2020, he became the fourth person to win the race in back-to-back seasons, joining Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and Sterling Marlin.
Hamlin was born in Tampa, Florida, but lived in Chesterfield, Virginia, for most of his childhood. He began racing go-karts at the age of seven. Afterward, he worked his way up to Late Models by 2004 and signed a development contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. After running briefly in the Craftsman Truck Series, Hamlin drove a full season in the Busch Series in 2005, while running a few Nextel Cup races. After having strong race finishes, Hamlin was given a full-time ride with JGR.
His strongest season was in 2010, where he was leading the Championship by 15 points heading into the final race at Homestead. Despite having an incredible season, winning the most races of any driver in that year (8), he would lose the Championship by 39 points to Jimmie Johnson. With the exception of the 2013 season, in which a collision with Joey Logano damaged his lower back and kept him out for a large part of the early season, Hamlin has competed in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in every season he has competed full-time (12 seasons as of 2018), including his rookie season in 2006 when he finished third in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings, capping off one of the most impressive rookie campaigns in modern NASCAR history.