Denny Hamlin starts season healthy and newly engaged


Denny Hamlin gives the thumbs-up sign after getting out of his car following his victory in the Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum.
Jared C. Tilton
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In racing parlance, you can now say Denny Hamlin has fresh rubber on all four corners.

Hamlin, who was playing hurt during last season’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, needed surgery in November to repair a condition in which his collar bone intruded into the rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

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Starting in 2010 with an operation to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, Hamlin now has had surgery on both knees and both shoulders.

“I feel like it’s progressing really well,” said Hamlin, who also got engaged to longtime girlfriend Jordan Fish during the offseason. “While not 100%, (it’s) certainly better than it ended last season. Ran enough laps in the sim (simulator) and other places to feel pretty good at it.

“Actually, I’m happy to start the season knowing that I don’t have any physical ailments ahead of me. I feel really good about that, for sure.”

Hamlin, 43, and Fish have two daughters together. They announced their engagement on New Year’s Day.

“It’s good,” Hamlin said. “Certainly, age is all a factor, right? Certainly, the relationship that you’ve got. … She’s a great mom, a great partner and glad to move forward.”

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