Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe didn’t always see eye to eye during the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. What started during the summer at Indianapolis lingered deep into the playoffs when the three-time Daytona 500 winner referred to the rookie as a “f****** idiot.”
With the season over, Briscoe visited with the media and talked about earning his third Rookie of the Year award. He also won in the Truck and Xfinity Series. Unsurprisingly, the subject of his relationship with Hamlin came up in the conversation. In his answer, the 26-year-old candidly revealed why he decided to take a shot at the veteran driver that set off a social media battle and also detailed where the two stand heading into the offseason.
Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe have a pair of confrontations
It all started in August on the Indianapolis road course when Hamlin forced Briscoe into the grass on turn 1 during the second overtime restart. The Stewart-Haas driver responded by cutting off turn 2, rejoining the track directly behind the veteran, and spinning him, ending his chances at victory. The two met on pit road for a postrace discussion, but both drivers appeared to move on from the conflict.
Fast-forward to October and Texas, when the two raced hard side-by-side in the final stage. Briscoe got loose and slid up into the outside wall, and the resulting damage cut his tire and forced him to pit.
“That’s what he gets for being a f****** idiot,” Hamlin said over the team radio. “He crashes because he’s racing me like a f****** idiot. Like, who the f*** are you?”
The NASCAR on NBC Instagram account posted a photo of the two cars racing next to each other with Hamlin’s quote. Briscoe couldn’t help but respond.
“If only I had 10,000 races worth of experience under my belt….,” he responded, referring to an incident in 2017 that Hamlin apologized to Chase Elliott on Twitter after wrecking him and then strangely claimed to have raced 10,000 times since he was seven.
“ChaseBriscoe_14 not sure you’ll get there,” the Joe Gibbs Racing driver replied. “There’s cars racing for a championship. In case you forgot about taking out the leader and costing him 1 championship already this season. Perhaps when you learn give and take you will start to finish better.”
Briscoe continued the exchange, explaining he’s not racing for a championship but battling to keep his job. Hamlin suggested that the rookie put himself in others’ shoes and mentioned how respect is an underrated quality in today’s world.
Denny Hamlin reveals why he engaged on social media
A few days after the Texas race, Hamlin visited with the media and talked about driver etiquette between playoff drivers and non-playoff drivers. He also addressed the social media exchange with Briscoe and why he chose to engage in a public forum instead of talking about it privately.
“Well, a lot of it is, just to me, it’s the mentality that the younger guys have, right,” Hamlin said. “They can’t pick up the phone and call you or whatever. They just make immature statements on social media. So, I just thought I’d go down to that level for a minute.”
When asked whether or not the online banter led to more productive conversations, Hamlin quickly said, “No.”
Briscoe reveals why he fired a shot at Hamlin on social media and where the relationship stands today
This week Briscoe met with reporters to talk about winning the Cup Series Rookie of the Year Award. It’s his third ROY award after winning it in both the Truck (2017) and Xfinity Series (2019). He also was asked about the situation with Hamlin and where their relationship stood.
“I just saw a joke there that was kind of too easy not to take, so I did,” Briscoe said, talking about why he brought up Hamlin’s 10,000 races claim. “I don’t have anything wrong with Denny. I haven’t really the whole time. You know he gets paid the same way I do to get the best finish for his car as he can just like I’m paid to get the best finish for my car.
“We may have some different opinions on some things. I wasn’t mad after the Indy deal because I even told him if I was in your situation I would have done the same thing. I would have ran you wide into turn 1. That’s the best opportunity to win the race. I don’t have anything with Denny. I saw a joke there when he was talking about who does he think he is and I just thought it would be too easy not to say the 10,000 comment.”
The two may be good in Briscoe’s eyes, but those types of comments on social media will fan the flames of a brewing conflict. Next season can’t get here soon enough.