Few are immune from the economic downturn, but in relative terms, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin will escape with minimal damage from an expensive real estate purchase.

Planning a short-term move to downtown Charlotte, N.C., Hamlin has his $4.7-million house in the Peninsula Club in Cornelius, N.C., on the market. The house is next door to the one owned by his team owner, Joe Gibbs.

As of last Friday, Hamlin already had three offers on the property.

"I'm going to lose a couple hundred thousand," he said. "That's about it. I'll take it in this market. The good thing is, they're taking the dishes, they're taking the oven - everything in it. They're going to rent it out. I think they're going to rent it because no one can get a loan."

Hamlin arrived in New York shortly after returning from a trip to Japan, where he discovered Kobe beef.

"It was absolutely unbelievable," he said. "The hype to the Japanese Kobe - it's worth it."

It's a good thing Hamlin found something to eat, because he has an aversion to another Japanese staple: seafood.

"I don't eat anything out of the water - period," Hamlin explained.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News

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