Denny Hamlin wants to enter the Snowball Derby this December.
To make that goal a reality, he expects to make several Super Late Model starts this year to acclimate himself that type of car.
He first revealed his intentions to NBC Sports during NASCAR broadcast production week.
“I know personally I’m going to go and start racing more Late Models,” he told NBC Sports. “It’s been a few years since I’ve done that. Really not Late Models like I’m used to running. It’s more on the Super Late Models.
“I have maybe one race under my belt in my entire life in a Super Late Model. The end goal being is to compete in the Snowball Derby. I’m going to spend the year kind of working through that process and trying to figure out what techniques I need to have and learning and getting better. That way I can continue to give back to the short track community.”
Hamlin spent his formative years in Late Model Stocks, where he is a former champion at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina.
The Chesterfield, Virginia native has become one of the most decorated Cup Series contenders over the past 15 years with three victories in the Daytona 500 and several championship race appearances under the ‘Final Four’ format.
Through it all, Hamlin has maintained a close proximity to the discipline and hosted the marquee Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at various Virginia short tracks over the past decade.
But his latest itch occurred while watching Ty Majeski and Derek Thorn battle it out in the 53rd Snowball Derby last month. He wants to join them.
“It’s the part of the year where you start to get the bug again,” Hamlin told NBC Sports. “Your season ends in the first couple of weeks in November and you enjoy some time off.
“It just seems like that first week in December you’re like, ‘All right, now what?’ and the Snowball comes on and you’re like ‘Gosh, I wish I was running the race.’
“I say that year after year. It’s something that I want to try to compete in. Now that I have my own race team (with 23XI Racing), I’ve got the equipment. I just need a car at this point. It makes it a little bit easier.”
The NASCAR community was heavily featured in the 2020 Snowball Derby by Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Justin Marks and Noah Gragson.