Denny Hamlin takes Regan Smith for a ride around Daytona

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2016 Daytona 500 champ Denny Hamlin takes Fox pit reporter Regan Smith for ride around a place he knows very well: Daytona International Speedway.

- So we come to Daytona every year. It's the 13th year I've been coming down here, Denny. First year I'm not gonna be in a car. I figure you're the best guy to take me around the racetrack, give me a ride 2016 Daytona 500 Champion. What do you say?

- Yeah, let's do it. Let's make some laps.

- Sounds good.


- This place is special. You've got a win here before. What is about Daytona?

- I've had so much success at this race track, and we've been very fortunate to obviously won the Daytona 500 two years ago. And then, really, a lot of exhibition wins. We've won a lot of duels, a lot of shootouts, and clashes, and things like that.

COMMENTATOR 1: Denny Hamlin, three-wide, passed his teammate for the lead.

COMMENTATOR 2: Three-wide mid.

COMMENTATOR 3: Hamlin comes to the flag, and wins the Sprint Unlimited.

COMMENTATOR 4: Hamlin checkered flag wins the Sprint Unlimited.

- But I think it's just-- I have a great relationship with my spotter, and I really started doing some different techniques with drafting about five or six years ago. And since then, we've been really intentional every time we come to these places.

- I got to tell you something. I haven't been around in the passenger seat of a car around here before. I feel like I'm going to fall out the left side of this car right now. It's so steep. It doesn't do it justice on TV how steep this place is.

- It doesn't. When you're running at the speeds that we run here in the pace car, you just literally could lose your grip--

- Slide right down, yeah,

- --from the racetrack.

- That's crazy.

A lot of places we go, we worry about the racetrack. We worry about, OK, you gotta hit this line, or you gotta hit this mark. Here, it's all about the technique, and it's clear you're one of the best at it.

And coming down here, I know you gotta feel like every time, you're gonna win the race. Which is a good way to start the year, but what are some of those techniques? Is it just the side draft? Is it how you use the bubble, or what is it?

- A little bit of all that, really. I mean, it's so situational. And really, of all the race film that I'll watch throughout a year, most of them are-- we'll call them superspeedways, and I-- I've tried to-- I've probably watched the end of the 2016 Daytona 500-- the one I won-- probably 25 times not to relive the moment, but actually to figure out, OK, how did I go from fourth to first in one lap and win that race? Because those situations will arise again, and you've got to be prepared to put your car and yourself in the right position, to optimize the runs that you make.

- Denny, appreciate the ride. That was a lot of fun. One of the best that there is here. I know we're all looking forward to what you do here this next week in Daytona.

- For sure.

- I wish you a lot of success and luck.

- Thank you, man.