Denny Hamlin is staying tight-lipped regarding the rumors of his involvement or investment in Richard Petty Motorsports.
Silly season speculation has recently named Hamlin as a potential investor, alongside friend and NBA legend Michael Jordan, in the Petty organization. Further chatter said the team would switch to Toyota, and possibly expand to two cars with Darrell Wallace Jr. and an additional driver.
Wallace is a potential free agent after this season and has multiple offers on the table, including from Petty. However, a spokesman for Jordan has categorically denied the rumor, and Hamlin has no plans of leaving Gibbs. But, 39-year-old Hamlin admitted he is always looking toward what to do once his driving career is over.
“I’ve got some great partners that support me and my decisions, what I will do for years to come,” said Hamlin. “But I don’t know… I wish I had something to announce, but I really don’t. There are a lot of things up in the air that are still getting worked on. But I’ve got to win this weekend (in Daytona) and next weekend, and that’s where I’ve got to focus.
“But certainly, I believe that no matter what, my career will be with Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx as long as I want to drive.”
One important note is that NASCAR would not allow a driver to drive for one team while owning a piece in another if it would exceed the four-car cap limit. Joe Gibbs fields four full-time cars.
Hamlin has been in the NASCAR Cup Series for 15 seasons. When signing his most recent contract extension with Gibbs in 2017, Hamlin said he would be “much grayer” the next time it came to renewing.
Asked whether looking at team ownership is attractive with the Next Gen race car coming in 2022, Hamlin insisted that he’s remaining open-minded about his future.
“I don’t know what my role will be, but I know that it probably will be in NASCAR in some kind of way, shape, or form,” said Hamlin. “I’m always looking at avenues that would allow me to stay in the sport beyond driving. Certainly, it’s a sport I believe in. Certainly, the financial model will hopefully get better in the next few years for the team owners, regardless of whether I’m in it or not.
“But I don’t know – my focus has got to be on driving and winning championships for Toyota and FedEx right now. But if there’s ever opportunities to prepare myself for the future, then I’ll look to capitalize on those.”