Hamlin Ready To Deliver

FORT WORTH, Tex. - After a successful four-race tryout in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing officially announced Sunday morning that Denny Hamlin will remain in the car and will run for the Rookie of the Year title in 2006.

Hamlin made his Cup debut at Kansas five races ago, and since then has captured back-to-back eighth-place finishes at Lowe's and Martinsville. Today he will start 14th at Texas, his third top-15 start.

"Seems like I'm timing my performances really good," said Hamlin. "The passion is there each and every week. It's something I was born and bred to do."

Along with running the Cup schedule, Hamlin will also remain in the No. 20 Busch Series car next season, and he's ready for the busy schedule.

"It's going to take a lot of effort on my part to make this work," said Hamlin, who is currently fifth in the Busch standings. "This is a very important year for me for both Busch and Cup. I will treat them equally, with as much effort. It will be a year for me to show what I and we can do. What Carl (Edwards) did this year is great, and it's a great goal to set and I don't see any reason why we can't accomplish it."

Team President J.D. Gibbs wouldn't state if Mike Ford will return as crew chief next season.

"What we announcing today is that the 11 car driver will be Hamlin," said Gibbs. "We are not quite ready to announce anything else beyond that for next year. We will when the time is right. We have at a lot of decisions to make at JGR."

Before joining JGR last November as driver of the No. 20 Busch Series car, Hamlin was racing regional Late Model events. During that tenure he amassed over 50 wins and poles.

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