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NASCAR's Denny Hamlin shares 2007 story behind driver swap with Aric Almirola at Milwaukee Mile

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 19:30:12-04

MILWAUKEE — NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin has an interesting link to Milwaukee.

After qualifying his Cup car in Sonoma, he flew here. But his helicopter couldn't find a spot to land at the Milwaukee Mile. So, the 2007 AT&T 250 Busch Series race win is credited to Aric Almirola, even though he was taken out of the car for Hamlin.

We'll let him explain the strange and incredible story.

TMJ4 News Lance Allan asked, "It was just such a crazy night. What do you recall about that now, 14, 15 years later?"

"I don't why the flight was delayed to begin with. I'm not really sure what happened, or why we arrived later," Hamlin says. "We still got there, or I was getting there right the National Anthem was going on. Evidently, the track had parked cars on the helicopter pad. So the helicopter guy was like, 'well, I got nowhere to land.' And so we had to land 20 minutes up the road, drive, and by the time we got there, they were doing the pace laps to start the race. I'm like, alright, well I just traveled all this distance for nothing. I'm just going to sit on the pit box and be a cheerleader. I remember my crew chief at the time, Dave Rogers, sent a note saying the sponsor wants you in. I'm like, oh boy. I'm like, I don't think so. I don't wanna do it, and they said, 'listen, as long as he keeps the lead, then we'll keep him in.' But if he loses the lead, then they were going to pull him out, and so, he lost the lead. I think he fell back to third or something on one of the runs and they changed him the next pit stop and I got in and went."

Racing history and great stories just ooze from Wisconsin, don't they?

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