Times are tough in America these days, and it has begun to affect NASCAR teams and their fans. Race shops are closing doors or laying off employees and tracks are no longer selling out.
Fans would rather sit at home than make the trip to their local racetrack. Tickets are just too expensive. However, thanks to Denny Hamlin, they won't be in 2009.
Hamlin has said he will give away tickets for free.
"They can sit in my seats each and every week at every single race track we go to," he said. "Basically, they just enter in there, and we'll choose a handful to be sitting in my seats each week."
Go to Dennyhamlin.com and enter to win tickets to any track you wish to attend this season. Hamlin will then pick the winners and a minimum of four tickets per race will be given away. Certain tracks may offer more.
Hamlin estimates that the tickets will cost him between $75 and $150, since he's offering good views of the track. And, he's paying for them out of his own pocket without getting discounts from the tracks.
You don't have to be a Denny Hamlin fan either.
"That's not to go out there and try to get more race fans," he insists. "It's not [just] for Denny Hamlin race fans; it's for everyone. It doesn't matter if you're going to be there in your Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. gear or your Carl Edwards gear. It doesn't matter to me.
"I just want to help the race fans our that don't have the means to or have gone for the last 20 years and now aren't able to because of financial reasons."
Some NASCAR tracks have said they would be cutting ticket prices and some are reducing their infield parking prices. Both are necessary moves to keep the economy and NASCAR afloat.
"It's going to take a little bit from everybody, not just the drivers," Hamlin said. "It's going to take a little bit from NASCAR, a little bit from the race tracks, a little bit out of their pocket ... back in the pocket of the people who are putting it in their pockets to begin with."
Hamlin also said he plans to spend more time with the fans and sign more autographs.
"I’ve cut back on all the other nonsense to make $15,000 or $20,000,” Hamlin said. “I have a lot more time on my schedule this year. I cut out a lot of Nationwide stuff—I’m only running three races—to concentrate on the Cup Series, winning the championship this year, and having more time to do charitable things."
“This is my year. I’m taking off," he added. "I’m taking off and not worrying about myself and trying to get back to the basics.”