Denny Hamlin definitely faced some struggles during the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season after his runner-up finish to five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in 2010. Now Hamlin and the No. 11 FedEx team have a new leader on the box who is coming off winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced on December 9, 2010 that Darian Grubb had been hired as the new crew chief for Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota. His first official day on the job was Monday, December 12th.
The championship crew chief made the decision to stay on the pit box for the next four years and then move to a position that required less travel when his son gets to the age of playing T-Ball and soccer.
Joe Gibbs Racing would appear to be the perfect fit for Grubb with their style of management, the personnel and, of course, his new driver, Hamlin.
Grubb and his driver have been having lunch and getting to know each other better. The two Virginia natives have a lot to talk about when it comes to Virginia Tech, the school Grubb graduated from and the school Hamlin cheers for in sports. Grubb is working on building an united team focused on one goal, winning the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup title. Grubb has said he has already hit reset and is ready to go.
Hamlin just never seemed able to rebound in 2011 and faced problems with his team, along with far too many engine failures, and he only won one race; Michigan International Raceway. Hamlin did manage to claim a wild-card slot that got him into the chase, where he finished in ninth position.
Grubb’s main mission in 2012 is to get Hamlin and the No. 11 a championship. The former Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief is known for making gutsy pit calls on the box. If the engines can remain healthy at Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin could be hoisting the Sprint Cup at Homestead-Miami Speedway at the end of the 2012 season.