NASCAR’s Denny Hamlin sees a bright future in solar energy

By Michael Phillips (Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 22, 2016).

He’s no longer a young driver looking to break into NASCAR’s top ranks.

Denny Hamlin’s career has played out in Virginia, from dirt-track racing at Southside Speedway to Sprint Cup victories at Martinsville and Richmond. Now, as a 35-year-old star on the circuit, he’s starting the next phase of his career in the commonwealth.

Hamlin, a Manchester High graduate, is an investor in a solar energy farm in Chesapeake, the first investment he’s made with SunEnergy1, an energy company owned by Kenny Habul, a part-time driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, the organization for which Hamlin races.

“I’m right in the middle of the tunnel of my career,” Hamlin said. “I can’t really see the beginning, and I can’t really see the end. I’m starting to look at what I’m going to do when this is all said and done — I can’t just golf every day. As great as that sounds, I’ll get stir crazy.

“So I’m looking around at different opportunities, and obviously solar is a big thing right now.”

Hamlin’s investment came from a company he created called Won One Energy. The group has already contracted with Dominion Power to sell the energy generated from the Chesapeake plant. The Charlotte Business Journal estimated the project’s cost at $30 million to $40 million, with Hamlin’s contribution undisclosed.

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