AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 04: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota, waits on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 04, 2023 in Avondale, Arizona.
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin Questions First Pit Stall Advantage

Denny Hamlin is never one to shy away from making a topic of discussion, especially on his podcast "Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin." That's just what he did this week, now that the 2023 season is over.

In the past few seasons, the eventual series champion started on the pole in the championship-deciding race and got the all-important first pit stall coming off pit road.

That didn't hold true this time around, as William Byron used the pit spot well all race, but never had the car that could best Ryan Blaney.

That is why Hamlin raised the issue on about whether the advantage the pole sitter has with the first stall is fair, specifically in the championship race, in the new episode of his podcast.

He raised his questions about it, after seeing how Byron used the stall at Phoenix to beat a bunch of cars off pit lane, though he never quite had the car to hold off those other drivers.

Even though Byron was able to have quicker pit stops, and beat cars off pit lane, it ultimately never mattered for the championship, because he didn't have anything for Blaney who won the title.

Hamlin talked about how he can see there is a benefit if you are the best car but also questioned that maybe the first stall shouldn't have that much of an advantage.

"I guess I see this both ways, but there's a long gap between the camera at the end of pit road, and where the yellow line is, where they stop, where pit road speed ends. Do we have to give the No. 1 pit box that much of an advantage? I'm wondering, it's such a big race, why do you - if we had another champion decided on pit road, is that really - I mean, I guess it is a team sport. It is," Hamlin said. "So, you want to give the pit road guys a chance, and it's up to the driver and the team to keep putting themselves in position for the pit crew to put them out first. But it's a considerable time difference in having the No. 1 stall versus having you know, the fifth stall. Or whatever it might be."

This time the first stall ultimately didn't matter, as Blaney won the championship and Byron ended up third in the standings.

Would Hamlin raise the same question if he was one of the championship drivers?

More: Championship Eludes Hamlin Once Again