Home Sport Can Denny Hamlin Equal the Late Cale Yarborough as He Hopes to Start the 2024 Season With a Bang

Can Denny Hamlin Equal the Late Cale Yarborough as He Hopes to Start the 2024 Season With a Bang

by News7

New Year’s Eve was not entirely a happy one for the NASCAR community. While the rest of the world celebrated, the sport lost an icon in Cale Yarborough. There will be several drivers paying tribute to the late great racer in the 2024 season and one of the first with the opportunity to do so will be Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin.

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It was another year of disappointment for the 43-year-old in his quest for the elusive Cup Series title. Hamlin will be looking to start strong in a race he has won three times in the past, the Daytona 500.

Denny Hamlin pays respects to Cale Yarborough, from one #11 to anotherADVERTISEMENT

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If Denny Hamlin manages to win the 2024 Daytona 500, he will tie Cale Yarborough for four wins at The Great American Race. It would be the perfect way to pay tribute to the three-time Cup Series champion. However, something like that is easier said than done. The last time the JGR star won the iconic race was three seasons ago.

The 43-year-old is currently the driver of the #11 as Yarborough was back in the 1970s with Junior Johnson and Associates and Howard & Egerton Racing. Yarborough was the first driver to win the Cup Series thrice consecutively, from 1976 to 1978. Hamlin has not made much progress on that end but he certainly is one of the best today.

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The Joe Gibbs Racing star penned a short tribute to the three-time Cup Series champion on Twitter after his passing, acknowledging the legacy of the #11. “Rip 11. #legend,” the 43-year-old tweeted. It could happen that Hamlin will run a paint scheme to honor Yarborough regardless of what happens at the Daytona 500.

Tributes came in thick and fast for the late racing legend. Several drivers and insiders paid their respects to the NASCAR Hall of Famer. NASCAR even made a 5-minute long video honoring the achievements of the great man.

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Tributes pour in for the late Cup Series champion, Cale YarboroughFormer Cup Series driver Kenny Wallace also uploaded a video that honored Yarborough’s storied career and enviable statistics. “RIP to #NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough, narrated by @CharlieMarlow_, photos courtesy of NASCAR Media,” the 60-year-old wrote as the caption to a touching tribute.

Dale Earnhardt Jr was one of the eminent figures in NASCAR today to pay tribute to the man his dad raced against quite a few times on the track. He uploaded a couple of pictures to on his Twitter handle and wrote, “Sad news about the passing of Cale today. A legend behind the wheel for sure, but he had a personality, grit, and swagger that attracted fans around the world to him and to NASCAR. He truly made the sport far better for being a part of it. My heart goes out to his family.”

Another former driver whose father had a rivalry with Cale Yarborough is Kyle Petty. He shared a past picture with the legend and wrote about his rivalry with his father, Richard Petty.

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“My heart is sad today. Cale was a part of so many of my childhood memories. I watched him race my dad and all the greats and I was blessed to race against him. Cale was a great man. I’ll always remember him sawing the wheel fighting for the win. My prayers go out to his family,” Kyle expressed.

My heart is sad today. Cale was a part of so many of my childhood memories. I watched him race my dad and all the greats and I was blessed to race against him. Cale was a great man. I’ll always remember him sawing the wheel fighting for the win. My prayers go out to his family. pic.twitter.com/Iv0JOe6CS1

— Kyle Petty (@kylepetty) December 31, 2023

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The NASCAR world truly lost an icon of the sport on the final day of 2023. Cale Yarborough is a man who did it all back in the day. He will go down as one of the greatest racers in the history of motor racing.

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