NASCAR: Denny Hamlin to drive the No. 19 Toyota

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

As expected, Denny Hamlin is set to make his annual NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Darlington Raceway, doing so for Joe Gibbs Racing.

It didn’t happen last year, as he was doing his best to prevent further injury following a heavy wreck in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway, but Denny Hamlin is back in the Xfinity Series for another start with Joe Gibbs Racing, and he is set to make it at a familiar location.

Hamlin is set to make his annual appearance behind the wheel of Joe Gibbs Racing’s “star car”, which is the No. 19 Toyota this year, in this Saturday afternoon’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.

The race is the penultimate race of the regular season, and it marks Hamlin’s first ever NASCAR start in a No. 19 car.

Sitting in ninth place in the owner standings, the No. 19 team is locked into the owner playoffs thanks to Ryan Truex’s victory at Dover Motor Speedway in April and Ty Gibbs’ victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier in August.

Denny Hamlin is set to become the seventh different driver to pilot the No. 19 Toyota in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

Aside from Truex and Gibbs, the others include Joe Graf Jr., Myatt Snider, Connor Mosack, and Trevor Bayne. The team’s full-time drivers are rookie Sammy Smith and John Hunter Nemechek, both of whom are locked into the playoffs with victories of their own.

Since September 2017, Darlington Raceway is the only track at which Hamlin has competed in the Xfinity Series. Up until he missed last year’s race and was replaced by fellow full-time Cup Series driver Christopher Bell, he had run the late August/early September race there every year since it was moved from May to later in the season, a move which happened in 2015.

In the Xfinity Series, Hamlin is a five-time winner at the four-turn, 1.366-mile (2.198-kilometer) egg-shaped “Track Too Tough To Tame” in Darlington, South Carolina. He initially won there in 2019 before being disqualified, so his most recent official victory came in 2017.

In the Cup Series, he is a four-time winner at the track and a three-time Southern 500 winner. His most recent victory came in September 2021.

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The Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 is set to be broadcast live on USA Network from Darlington Raceway starting at 3:30 p.m. ET this Saturday, September 2. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!