During NASCAR’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami, teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. of the Joe Gibbs Racing team were sitting pretty in first and second place on the final lap of stage two. However, everything unraveled on the final turn when Hamlin made a business decision and blocked his teammate, which ultimately cost both drivers a chance at winning the stage. Immediately following the incident, an angry Truex went ballistic on the radio and offered a few choice words for his teammate.
Denny Hamlin blocks Martin Truex Jr. and William Byron wins stage
Martin Truex Jr. was considered to be a top contender for the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami. The 2017 Cup Series champion started the race from the ninth spot and quickly made his way to the front. Truex finished third in stage one behind Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski.
Halfway through stage two, Truex passed Buescher to take his first lead of the 2021 NASCAR season. After briefly giving up the lead while cycling through a round of green-flag pit stops, Truex returned to the front, where he remained until the closing laps of the stage when the caution came out.
On the restart, Martin Truex chose the outside lane with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin on the inside. Both cars stayed even through the first two turns and down the backstretch. Heading into the final two turns, Hamlin edged ahead and then slid up the track in front of Truex, preventing him from making a run out of the final turn.
Hamlin’s move effectively killed the momentum of both cars, allowing William Byron in the No. 24 car to slip underneath and take the green-white-checkered flag and claim the stage two victory. Hamlin finished second, followed by Kurt Busch and Truex.
Martin Truex cusses out Denny Hamlin on the radio
After leading for 38 laps during the stage, only to see it slip away in the final turn, Martin Truex Jr. was understandably upset with his teammate Denny Hamlin and let it be known on the radio moments later while making a pit stop.
“What the f**k, Denny! What the f**k kind of move was that?” Truex barked on his radio.
“Yeah, nice teammate,” Truex crew chief James Small said in disbelief. Spotter Drew Herring was a little more direct in his language.
“It’s OK. Just note it. We’ll know how we need to race him now.”
Up in the broadcast booth, Fox frontman Mike Joy said Hamlin half-heartedly apologized “if he pinched his teammate.” Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon both agreed there was no question whether or not Hamlin pinched his teammate. He did.
Truex finishes 3rd, eight spots ahead of Hamlin
While Martin Truex Jr. was justifiably upset with his Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, the veteran driver refocused for the race’s final stage, where he started 17th after making a pit stop while most of the other drivers stayed out.
With fresh tires, Truex darted through the field. Impressively, just one lap after the restart and he had moved up into the fifth position. He remained in the top five for the remainder of the race, finishing third behind William Byron and Tyler Reddick.
Denny Hamlin stayed near the front with Martin Truex until a caution came out with 70 laps to go. The No. 11 car then received a penalty for entering pit road too fast and was sent to the back of the field. To Hamlin’s credit, he fought his way through the field and finished 11th.