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Hamlin eager to take on leadership role

Tony Stewart's departure in 2008 left a sizable leadership void at Joe Gibbs Racing. Say hello to the new elder statesman at JGR: Denny Hamlin.

Updated: January 26, 2009, 4:15 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- Denny Hamlin wasn't happy. Actually, he was furious. His engine had blown six laps from the finish in the August race at Michigan International Speedway, resulting in a 39th-place finish that dropped him to 12th in the Sprint Cup standings.

He publicly criticized the Joe Gibbs Racing engine department, saying they were far behind top teams such as Hendrick Motorsports. He attacked his pit crew, blaming their inconsistency for putting him on the bubble of making ...

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