Hamlin inks extension with JGR

Updated: June 30, 2012, 7:43 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

Denny Hamlin has signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Hamlin, who drives the No. 11 Toyota, made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday night from Kentucky Speedway prior to the Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup race.

Hamlin
Hamlin

"IT'S OFFICIAL," he said. "I've signed an extension with @JoeGibbsRacing. Happy to know where my future is. Excited for tonight and beyond with my team."

Hamlin didn't state the number of years in the extension.

Hamlin, 31, has spent his entire career at JGR. He's competing in his seventh full-time Cup season. Hamlin was the runner-up to Jimmie Johnson in the 2010 championship battle, falling 39 points short of the title after entering the final race with the points lead.

Hamlin ranked eighth in the 2012 standings entering Saturday night's race. He also has two victories this year with new crew chief Darian Grubb, who led Tony Stewart to the 2011 Cup title.

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 the 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."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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