Hamlin re-ups with Joe Gibbs Racing

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 30, 2012
Denny Hamlin will not test NASCAR's free-agent market, agreeing Saturday to a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin announced the extension on Twitter before Saturday night's race at Kentucky Speedway. Terms of his extension were not released, but he locked up a new deal almost 15 months before his current contract with JGR was set to expire. In a message posted just as drivers were about to be introduced, Hamlin Tweeted, ''IT'S OFFICIAL. I've signed an extension with (at)JoeGibbsRacing. Happy to know where my future is. Excited for tonight and beyond with my team.'' Hamlin told The Associated Press earlier this week he saw no reason to look around at other race teams, in part because of his stability at JGR and with sponsor FedEx. The economy has changed dramatically since Hamlin's 2005 tryout with JGR, but FedEx hasn't reduced its commitment to the team or the driver. FedEx sponsors 36 of the 38 Sprint Cup Series races. ''I consider myself very lucky to be with a team and a sponsor that want me,'' he told The AP this week. ''You look around the garage and guys can't get rides because of sponsorship problems, or they've taken pay cuts, or they aren't as competitive as they could be because the budget isn't there. I've got a great situation, and I don't see how changing teams could get any better.'' FedEx as a policy does not announce signings, but it's believed the company typically keeps its contracts with JGR aligned with Hamlin. From a competition standpoint, Hamlin also believes there isn't a better team out there for him. JGR consistently fields title contenders and, with all four seats locked up at Hendrick Motorsports, Hamlin doesn't see the upside of moving to another team. ''I want to win races and championships. I don't want to collect a bigger check and not be able to win trophies at the same time,'' he told AP. ''I don't see anything out there that wouldn't be a step down, or a lateral move. I'm happy at JGR, and didn't see any reason not to get a deal done right now.'' Hamlin has won 19 races in the No. 11 with JGR, and has made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in all six of his full seasons. He nearly won the 2010 championship, falling short to Jimmie Johnson in the season finale. He went into Saturday night's race ranked eighth in points and has two wins this season.
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