DAYTONA 500 WINNER DENNY HAMLIN HELPS KICK OFF ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS FIRST SPRING TRAINING GAME
2016 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Racing Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, attended the Arizona Diamondbacks Spring Training opener against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday at Salt River Fields. Hamlin was in the Valley of the Sun to promote the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, on Sunday, March 13, and discuss his historical finish of in the Daytona 500.
“It’s ‘NASCAR goes west’,” said Hamlin, who begins the three-week tour of back-to-back west coast tracks. “This is the first leg this weekend in Vegas and then we come to Phoenix next weekend. Personally, I’m excited about Phoenix because it’s the first short track of the season. Really, these are the true real race tracks where we start to figure out where we stand as a race team. It’s been a crazy media tour over the last two weeks, but it beats the alternative of not winning the 500. It’s going to stick on my resume a long time, so I’ve got to live it up for as long as I can.”
Prior to the game, Hamlin traded jerseys, or in his case, an official race helmet, with Diamondbacks pitcher Tyler Clippard and Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez. Hamlin, who had met Gonzalez previously, was happy to hear that he was in attendance for the drivers memorable victory at Daytona.
“It’s’ been amazing,” Hamlin said. “I got to see Carlos Gonzalez, who I haven’t seen since doing a commercial with him probably eight or nine years ago. He was actually at the race with his son - he lives in Orlando, so he came to the race and got to take it in and was talking about how crazy of a finish it was too. So that’s how you know it’s significant - when people of different sports come out and enjoy a race.”
Hamlin was surprised by good friend and FOX broadcast anchor Michael Waltrip before an appearance on the MLB Network. The two Daytona 500 winners joined Chris Rose and Kevin Miller on set and discussed the upcoming race as well as their shared love of the Phoenix area golf courses.
A native of Chesterfield, Virginia, Hamlin clinched the closest finish in Daytona 500 history to kick off the 2016 season. He has earned a total of 27 career NASCAR Spring Cup Series wins, including the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in March 2012. In 21 starts at PIR, Hamlin has had much success on the one-mile oval with nine top-5 and 11 top-10 finishes.
Tickets for the Good Sam 500 start at just $25, and 2016 season tickets are available beginning at $99. Individual tickets and season tickets are available online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the PIR ticket office.