Denny Hamlin adjusting to mentoring role this season

CHARLOTTESVILLE, N.C. (WRIC) — The new season of NASCAR is underway in the Queen City and drivers are starting to rev up for the opening race of the year on February 18th, the Daytona 500.

Chesterfield native and Manchester High School graduate Denny Hamlin, the 2016 winner of the Great American Race, returns for his 12th season of racing in NASCAR’s premiere series. Hamlin’s goal will again be reaching the postseason for a fifth year in a row, only difference this time around will be his new role for Joe Gibbs Racing.

While Hamlin is chasing the Monster Energy Cup Series title, he now finds himself as the most seasoned veteran on the racing team ahead of teammate Kyle Busch. He inherits the role of mentor for the newest and youngest members of JGR, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones.

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to