After a wildly successful run last year, Denny Hamlin has struggled to complete with NASCAR’s elite this season. Experts agree that Hamlin’s problem isn’t engineering or strategy… it’s Denny’s lack of a solid nickname. Clearly, Hamlin has not consulted the Ultimate NASCAR Nickname chart.
Several elite drivers upgraded their nicknames in the off season and they’ve been seeing it pay off on the track. Kevin Harvick leveled up from his old nickname ("Happy") to a sweet new one ("The Closer") while Jimmie Johnson picked up the nickname "Five Times." Jeff Gordon’s comeback is slowly reviving his moniker "Wonderboy," which was given to him by Dale Earnhardt Sr.
To get back on track, Denny Hamlin needs a nickname. Here are five top choices.
Six Million Dollar Man
In 2010, Denny Hamlin went under the knife after a basketball injury damaged his ACL. Three weeks after the surgery Hamlin raced to Victory Lane at Texas. How did he make such an amazing recovery? During a secret surgery at an undisclosed government location, Denny’s knee, left eye and right arm were replaced by bionic implants to give him super strength, reflexes and vision. Half-man, half-cyborg, Denny uses his enhanced powers to race on Sundays and topple nefarious regimes the other days of the week.
The Lion’s Den
Picture this, it’s Chicago Speedway, Hamlin and Juan Pablo Montoya have been tangling all afternoon. JPM finally crosses the line by running Hamlin up into the wall. Hamlin recovers and, like a missile, seeks out Montoya, wrecking him into the wall while making a gesture like a cat attacking a ball of string and shouting, “Careful Juan Pablo, you just entered the Lion’s Den!”
Hamlin’s full legal name is James Dennis Alan Hamlin. While “Denny” is an improvement over the longer “James Dennis Alan,” it’s not good enough. Hamlin needs to take his nickname to the extreme. Don’t just shorten part of the name, take the first two letters from each word in his name and turn it into “Jade Alha.” When people hear “Jade Alha” they assume he’s a bad-ass gun runner, quick with his fists who is always two steps in front of the law with a slew of bounty hunters on his tail. “Denny” is the non-threatening “work friend” your girlfriend goes to happy hour with whom she describes as, ‘I would never sleep with him, he’s Denny.’
Denny of Iniquity
Just as a den of iniquity is a secret hideaway filled with criminal activity, Denny Hamlin’s mind is a haven for all things wild. He may look like a calm, well-mannered driver on the outside, but anyone who could sit through team meetings with Joey Logano and Kyle Busch without running from the room screaming is seriously disturbed.
Why Mr. Chesterfield? Because he satisfies. Borrowing the moniker of his hometown (Chesterfield, VA) and classic smoking ads for Chesterfields cigarettes, Denny’s nickname is a calling card for the female fans. Not that Denny needs any help with the ladies.