Denny Hamlin wowed NASCAR fans with an astonishing win at the 2016 Daytona 500 in the final lap of the race, passing leader Matt Kenseth and holding on at the finishing line to edge out Martin Truex Jr. to win. But who is he? Click here to learn some fun facts about the racing driver!
He became a hero on Feb. 21, winning the Daytona 500 in truly spectacular style. But there’s more to Denny Hamlin, 35, than just being a whiz on the racetrack. The NASCAR driver is a big Taylor Swift fan, earn one of the biggest pay checks on the circuit today and is a devoted father. Click down for 5 fun facts about motor-racing idol Denny!
1. He loves Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
If this video is anything to go by, Denny is clearly a very big Taylor fan. I mean, why else would he record a video singing along to one of her biggest hits and share it with us!
2. Denny learned how to race by driving go-karts aged 7
Denny was born in Tampa, Florida, which is a hotbed for motor-racing. However, he spent most of his childhood in Chesterfield, VA. That’s where he honed his craft by racing go-karts from the age of 7. In 2004, he had worked his way up to Late Models and signed a development contract with Joe Gibbs Racing.
3. His previous best Daytona 500 finish was second.
Before tasting success at the Daytona 500 in 2016, Denny was an unfortunate runner-up in 2014. He started the race third and was in the lead for 16 laps, however in the last two laps he lost out to legendary two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and had to settle for second spot.
4. Denny is extremely well paid!
In 2013, Denny signed two huge deals — one with Joe Gibbs Racing and another with his primary sponsor FedEx. His new deal was reported to be worth $13.7 million, with $12.2 million of that in salary and $1.5 million in licensing and endorsements. During his career, with 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins and 11 Nationwide Series wins, Denny has earned around $30 million from the sport.
5. He’s a family man.
NASCAR drivers are naturally family men, how many do you see bringing their babies trackside on a race day with their glamorous wives in tow before they start their engines? Denny has dated Jordan Fish since 2007. The pair have a daughter together called Taylor.
HollywoodLifers, were you happy to see Denny win the Daytona 500? Did you enjoy the race? Sound off to us below!