Denny Hamlin admits he will push Bubba Wallace over Ty Gibbs at Daytona, says he is ready to confront JGR if they have an issue with it

Denny Hamlin pushed Bubba Wallace to the finish line instead of his teammate, Ty Gibbs at the Daytona International Speedway.


Denny Hamlin admits he will push Bubba Wallace over Ty Gibbs at Daytona, says he is ready to confront JGR if they have an issue with it

Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace (Left, credits: PopSugar) and Ty Gibbs (Right, credits: NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin recently faced a challenging decision at the Daytona International Speedway. As the last race before the playoffs loomed large, Hamlin found himself in a unique predicament of whether to support his teammate Ty Gibbs or rally behind Bubba Wallace, the driver for the team he co-owns, 23XI Racing. 

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Hamlin’s dilemma was born from his dual roles as a co-owner of 23XI Racing and a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Bubba Wallace, the face of 23XI Racing, occupied the precarious 16th spot on the playoff bubble, holding a 32-point advantage over Ty Gibbs. Meanwhile, Ty Gibbs, a young and promising rookie, was Hamlin’s teammate at JGR.

Hamlin’s decision-making process was a delicate balancing act between loyalty to his team and the financial investments he held in 23XI Racing, where Wallace plied his trade. It wasn’t just about ownership; it was about who deserved his support in this high-stakes race. Hamlin was unequivocal in his belief that Wallace, with six full-time seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series, had paid his dues and deserved a shot at the playoffs. In contrast, Ty, at just 20 years old, had a bright future with numerous opportunities to excel in the Cup Series.

In a candid conversation on his “Actions Detrimental” podcast Hamlin explained, underlining his financial ties to 23XI Racing “The 23. I own the car, for one. I mean, that’s the biggest factor.” He added, “By the letter of the law, I probably should be pushing Ty… but if JGR or if anybody at JGR has a problem with me pushing Bubba, we gotta have a talk.”

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Denny Hamlin claims that he was rooting for Bubba Wallace

Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace
Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace (Credits: CBS Sports)

While acknowledging Gibbs’ remarkable rookie season and impressive skills, Hamlin’s allegiance leaned heavily towards Wallace. He saw Bubba as a deserving playoff contender, a driver who had put in a relentless effort to improve his performance. Wallace’s recent top-10 finish at Watkins Glen was a testament to his unwavering dedication.

“I’m rooting for Bubba,” Hamlin declared. “I want him to run whatever race he needs to run to get himself in the playoffs. I think he deserves it, I think he’s been working really hard.” Hamlin praised Gibbs’ exceptional rookie season, acknowledging his impressive performance and expressing admiration. He even mentioned Gibbs troubling his peace by closely tailing him at Watkins Glen..

Hamlin’s decision painted a vivid picture of the intricate dynamics at play in NASCAR, where loyalties within teams, financial investments, and deservingness all converged. As the race at Daytona International Speedway drew closer, Hamlin’s commitment to his co-owned team and Bubba Wallace underscored the complexity of decisions made both on and off the track. 

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