Hamlin drives kid-created ride in Texas
Denny Hamlin is racing for more than just hardware this weekend.
The winner of both Texas Motor Speedway Sprint Cup 2010 races will carry the March of Dimes logo on the No. 11 FedEx Toyota this weekend with a paint scheme designed by 8-year-olds Jake and Josh Aron.
Since 2006, FedEx has donated car space to the March of Dimes. The Aron twins, family ambassadors for the March of Dimes in Dallas, were selected to visit Hamlin at Joe Gibbs Racing and created their vision of the car with the driver on March 8.
“We got to go to the shop and give them a blank race car and they got to design different stuff that they wanted on it,” Hamlin said. “It’s interesting to see how it all turned out. It shows up great on the racetrack. My crew chief (Mike Ford) was actually saying yesterday how much he likes it. I know I love driving it.
“For (the twins), this is their hometown. Obviously being born four months premature and seeing the successful lives they’re leading now, it’s obviously a big deal.”
Both Aron brothers took an active role in the design with Hamlin. Josh chose black as the base color and added a heart and flames.
“It turned out a lot better than I expected it to be,” Josh said.
“Since the March of Dimes helps babies and uses the color purple, I drew a baby with a purple diaper,” Jake Aron said. “I really like the baby. I like all of it a lot.”
The boys’ father, Jaime Aron, said it was Hamlin’s idea to trace their hands on the hood and draw feet on the back of the car with the twins’ autograph underneath. The footprints, which were featured on the boys’ business cards and measure less than an inch and one-half, are representative of their exact foot sizes when they were born 8 years and 11 months ago.
“Earlier in their lives they probably would have never been able to go to a racetrack, and now, like they said, they were in Victory Lane last year,” Hamlin said. “It’s exciting for me. I remember on the back of the car there was their footprint and that was going to be used to push me forward this weekend. Hopefully, that all works out.”
Hamlin could use a little luck. He is currently 19th in the points standings. After finishing second to Jimmie Johnson last season with eight victories, he’s posted just one top-10 finish this year — seventh at Las Vegas. Considering that Hamlin swept last year’s Cup races at Texas, a win Saturday night could jumpstart his season.
“I think what people were attributing this year’s slow start to is the last couple races of last year,” Hamlin said. “I know in my mind it has nothing to do with it, but it’s just the way people see it — like it’s a letdown from last year. I honestly don’t believe that — I believe that here in the next three races, we’re going to be inside the top-15 in points.
"After that, we’re going to keep marching our way back to the top 10. We’re not going to need to get in on wins, I don’t believe. I honestly believe we’re going to be in the top-10 here in the next seven, eight weeks.”