Denny Hamlin has spent his entire NASCAR Cup Series career in the #11 FedEx car for Joe Gibbs Racing, and things don’t appear to be changing anytime soon. On Monday, JGR announced they have provided contract extensions to the driver and sponsor, continuing one of the longest-pairing driver/sponsor/team trios in the sport. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press noted FedEx’s sponsorship is not for the full 2021 season. While Hamlin’s contract has usually never been specified, he last signed an extension in 2017 and fan rumours during the 2020 season had speculated him going elsewhere for 2021.
“The relationship between FedEx and our organization has been a tremendous success story in so many ways and we’re excited that FedEx will continue to support Denny and our #11 team,” team owner Joe Gibbs stated. “Denny continues to perform at the top of our sport and our goal is to continue to position him and FedEx to win a championship.”
Racing in the Cup Series on a full-time basis since 2006, Hamlin has exclusively competed for JGR and is currently their longest-tenured driver. His #11 has been sponsored by FedEx for over ninety percent of his 542 career Cup starts, and nearly every race in 2020 has seen a FedEx livery (the exception being Talladega in June, where Hamlin was sponsored by the National Civil Rights Museum—which, like FedEx’s headquarters, is located in Memphis, Tennessee—in the wake of protests for racial equality).
All but two of his forty-four career Cup wins, including his three Daytona 500 victories, have come with FedEx sponsorship. In 2020, he won seven races en route to a Championship Round appearance, where he finished fourth in the standings.
“I’m so fortunate to have the support of FedEx behind me throughout my career,” Hamlin said. “I take a tremendous amount of pride in having the opportunity to represent them not only on the racetrack, but also in the community through the countless programs they have supported for the better part of these past two decades.”
FedEx began sponsoring JGR in 2005, appearing on the #11 then driven by Jason Leffler. Hamlin took over the car for the final six races of that season before going full time in 2006. The delivery company has also sponsored the team’s lower-series efforts on occasion and even appeared on another Cup car in Bobby Labonte‘s #18 during the 2005 Coca-Cola 600.
“FedEx has remained the primary sponsor of the #11 car and Denny Hamlin for over fifteen years, and together we have celebrated many successes on and off the track including three Daytona 500 wins,” FedEx Integrated and Marketing Communications’ Senior Vice President Jenny Robertson commented. “The FedEx Racing relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing has continued to provide meaningful opportunities for us to engage our customers, team members, and fans, as well as make a positive impact in the community. We are honored to extend this relationship with the Joe Gibbs Racing organization for multiple years and continue the drive for a NASCAR Cup Series championship.”
In addition to driving for JGR in 2021, Hamlin will also begin his first season as a car owner as he oversees the #23 23XI Racing Toyota of Bubba Wallace.