RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 26: Jeff Gordon (L), driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, talks with injured driver Denny Hamlin (R) in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2013 in Richmond, Virginia.
(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin Responds To Jeff Gordon's Thoughts On How To Better Connect With Fans

There have been some interesting discussions about how NASCAR fans should choose which drivers they like.

During his appearance at the first-ever Racers Forum, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon spoke about how fans should take an NFL or NBA-type approach to their fandom. They should back an entire organization such as Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing, not just a single driver.

To his point, Gordon thinks the sport needs that now more than ever, as the faces NASCAR for years are no longer there.

For years, people would back drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. With those drivers no longer around or racing, it has been hard for their fans to just pick a new driver.

That being said, it doesn't quite seem as though NASCAR fans want to go that route.

Gordon's idea isn't a bad one. And Denny Hamlin, who co-owns 23XI Racing besides racing for Joe Gibbs, shares that thought process. He would love for it to be that easy, but he isn't as optimistic as Gordon about whether it could actually happen.

Hamlin shared his thoughts on his podcast "Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin" and used the upcoming retirement of Kevin Harvick as an example.

"We'd like to think that it's possible, but it's likely not," Hamlin said. "I understand the premise of it. Like when Kevin Harvick retires at the end of the year. There's a good amount of fans that are Kevin Harvick fans. Are they going to jump ship right to Josh Berry, because they're SHR fans or No. 4 fans? Or do they just go away? So that's the problem that I guess they're talking about. ... It's a good talking point to think about. I think the challenge with that is that the reason people will root for teams is because they represent a city."

Indeed, sports teams do represent their respective cities. As for NASCAR, it's hard for the teams to do that because they are all based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As for the drivers themselves, they represent the city they are from when they are racing.

Hamlin and Gordon seem to have the same opinion about trying to connect better with the fans, but it's clear Hamlin doesn't share the same optimism about fans actually sticking with one organization.

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