Denny Hamlin slams 2024 NASCAR Cup schedule, claims it is now testing ‘luck over skill’ of drivers

Denny Hamlin double down on his criticism of current NASCAR playoff system.

Denny Hamlin slams 2024 NASCAR Cup schedule, claims it is now testing ‘luck over skill’ of drivers

Denny Hamlin (Via IMAGO)

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin pointed out that radical changes to the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule have earned the title chase a game of luck. He believes the addition of drum card races will reduce the already small sample size there is to crown the champion. Hamlin had previously labeled the current playoff system insufficient and Mickey Mouse.


Four of the ten races in the 2024 post-season will be track of chances. Texas and Darlington were shifted to regular-season races, with the latter becoming the new regular-season finale, which has changed the game. Atalanta and Watkins Glen replaced them. So, the 2024 post-season will have an additional superspeedway race to Talladega and additional RC races to ROVAL.

Hamlin, who has 51 Cup wins but no title, pointed out that the claims from NASCAR leadership that it’s a way to test the championship chasers more are silly. He insisted that the addition of two drum card races has created a situation where the luck is tested and not the skill that should be tested.

Obviously, I don’t like it. I think you continue, you know, to make this a game a chance. One of the common quotes that you’ll hear from leadership is that ‘We like to test our drivers.’ That’s silly. You’re testing their luck. You’re not testing their skill. We like to cut the sample size smaller and smaller every single year,” Hamlin said, as reported by


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Denny Hamlin explains the issue with the current system

Hamlin went on to point out that the current playoff system is more rewarding towards winning the final race of the season than being consistent. He pointed out that a driver who made it to the final four with just average top 10 finishes doesn’t have a disadvantage compared to a rival who makes with consistent wins and podiums.

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin (Credits: @Joegibsracing/Twitter)

He insists the sample size isn’t long enough to crown a series champion with 36 races. Hamlin said, “That just doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s probably sour grapes coming from me but the sample size, we just continue to shrink it. They call it the championship round but it’s not even a round – it’s a 10-second bell. You got to get in all the hits you can as quick as you can.”

He added that the decision to have back-to-back superspeedway races is just for the sake of money. The JGR driver said, “I don’t think they care about what strain it brings on the teams to have multiple superspeedway (races) back-to-back to start the season, what travel we have to do in the beginning (of the year). None of that really matters. It’s about dollars and cents.”