Denny Hamlin was a guest on this week’s NASCAR Live hosted by Mike Bagley. Hamlin called in to the show to talk about his win in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series Dixie Vodka 150 at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway this past Sunday.
Bagley: Denny, welcome back to NASCAR Live. Congratulations on that big win on Sunday.
Hamlin: Appreciate it. Yeah, it was a bigger than I thought evidently so it definitely got a lot of attention. We all prepared quite a bit for it. We spent, you know, at least a week or so running a lot of practice laps, a lot of mock races and what not to try to make sure we put on a good show and did the best we could.
Audio: Hamlin on NASCAR Live
Bagley: How did the race come together? Did you get a call? Did you get a text? Did you start this? How how did all this begin?
Hamlin: I don’t remember exactly. The drivers willingly got on iRacing and started running some races at night and we’re hosting some races. You saw a lot of Tweets over the last, you know couple weeks or so people saying, ‘hey, I’m going on I racing hosting some racing.’ So during that I think iRacing reached out to a few guys and next thing it got some more traction. And it really happened late in the game. When I say late, it’s like, you know, just five or six days ago it was like okay we’re going to do this is going to be on TV, here’s the setup and let’s see what kind of participation we get. And with over 25 cup guys locking it in, I guess those 29 that race full-time. That’s a huge number. And by the way, not everyone had a rig and was ready to go. Some people had a borrow rigs. Some people bought one last minute. I think that the product really could get better and better as guys get more experience.
Bagley: How often are you able to iRace under normal conditions? Let’s say that you know with the issues that we’re dealing with now are not in place. Do you have the time to sit down and maybe do a little bench racing with your guys on iRacing otherwise?
Hamlin: Yeah, I mean, I’ve got time it just kind of depends on you know, my kids schedule and things like that. But yeah, you know things have been shut down for the most part right? I mean everything is kind of done via the Internet. There’s no appearances to go to, there’s no meet and greets, no signings and things like that. So things have just changed and so I looked at my schedule and there’s just there’s not anything really on it for a while. I can spend as much or as little time as I want preparing and I chose this week to spend some more time getting ready for it and it paid off.
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Bagley: For the race fan that has no idea what iRacing is, what it does, how it works. First of all, how close to real life is this? Like when you raced at Homestead on iRacing and you took it off into the corners did you feel the bumps? How much is this as close to real life as possible?
Hamlin: It’s really close. I mean it is closer than what it even looks like and it looks very close. I try to compare to other sports and you can’t. It’s not even close how much better it is to being real than other sports. You know, NBA player can’t go to go play NBA2K and it looked the same or even feel the same. You don’t need the same skill sets. And this it requires you to have the same skill set that it does for you to be good in real life. So that that’s where I think that you know, it’s really intriguing how it all plays out and the competition side of things.
See Also: Hamlin Wins iRacing Pro Opener
Bagley: I would say that that the race on Sunday and whatever potential races that are out there to come. I imagine that that’s great for the platform. You know, they say that in moments of challenge are born new frontiers or new things. I would say that probably in this case a spotlight is shining on iRacing. It’s been there for a long time, but I would say that out of this situation probably it’s going to get a little more attention and is good for that medium. Would you agree with that?
Hamlin: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I mean, it’s I think it’s good for everyone involved right now. I think there’s a lot of people talking. I looked on Twitter I go through like the verified, you know mentions and whatnot. I look at media outlets that are talking about this that that never talked about NASCAR. So I think there’s definitely a lot of positives to be drawn about this and especially like I say, it’s the only thing that kind of is remotely relevant to real life.
See Also: @ToyotaRacing Live with Hamlin
Bagley: On a more of a serious note, how are how are you and the family holding up? What are you doing to pass the time? Mama Lou and her crew OK?
Hamlin: Yeah, we’re protecting dad a little bit, you know trying to keep him home. Keep him from trying to go to the car shop and work on old cars all the time. But other than that, the kids are good. You know really, it hasn’t changed a whole lot around here. Taylor gets a little stir crazy every now and then but we find creative ways of keeping her occupied and there’s plenty of stuff to do around here. So she’s got really got no excuses that when it comes to that, it actually gives us time. There’s no excuses right like whatever you want to get done personally or you have a goal you want get to like now’s the time to do it. Like there’s just no other better time than right now to accomplish, whatever you’ve put off in the past.
Bagley: Are you one that bores easily? Like you have to be doing something. Do you appreciate the downtime? Do you appreciate being able to do some different things obviously than you would otherwise if we were racing every single weekend?
Hamlin: I do get bored easily. I mean, you know this morning I wrote on the calendar things I want to get done this week. I want to go through my closet. I want to go through all the Nike boxes that are in the garage. Just trying to get stuff done because I know once our racing season starts it is going to be wide open. So I think that we really need to, I need to try to get stuff done around here that I’ve been putting off.
NASCAR.com: Watch the Final Lap of Dixie Vodka 150
Bagley: You pledged $100 for every lap, you led and $5,000 if you won that all goes to benefit the families affected by the COVID-19 virus in the homestead Miami area. I saw your Tweet earlier you tagged a lot of folks on that. You know what we had fun during that race, but also there are a lot of people that need help and we appreciate you and the rest of your colleagues for stepping up and trying to fill that gap of need that seems to be ramping up across the country.
Hamlin: Yep. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Bagley: Thank you Denny. Appreciate it. We’ll talk to you soon. You never know, you may go back-to-back when you take them on at Texas.
Hamlin: Yeah, it’s going to take a lot of work. I can guarantee that. I’m not going to be able to show up and be competitive. I mean, I’m thinking that I’m probably going to go to start working on Texas here probably on Wednesday or so and see if we can do it again.