Denny Hamlin Admits He Acted Immaturely in Social Media War of Words With Chase Briscoe Because He Wanted to Get Down to the Rookie Driver’s Level
Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe have a history, albeit a brief one, that started earlier this year at Indianapolis. The two Cup Series drivers began a new chapter at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, and it has carried over to a war of words on social media.
The three-time Daytona 500 champion met with reporters this week and talked about the ongoing conflict and surprisingly offered that the reason he engaged with “immature” comments of his own was because he wanted to get down to Briscoe’s level.
Denny Hamlin calls Chase Briscoe a ‘f****** idiot’
With 60 laps to go in the first race of the Round of 8 at Texas, Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe were racing hard side-by-side when the rookie driver got loose and slid up into the outside wall. The resulting damage to his right-rear cut a tire and forced him to pit.
“That’s what he gets for being a f****** idiot,” Hamlin said on his team’s radio after the incident. “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 beside each other with Hamlin’s quote. Briscoe responded.
“If only I had 10,000 races worth of experience under my belt….,” the Stewart-Haas driver replied, referencing an incident in 2017 when Hamlin apologized to Chase Elliott on Twitter after wrecking him and then oddly claimed he had raced 10,000 times since he was seven.
“chasebriscoe_14 not sure you’ll get there,” Hamlin 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.”
The pair continued the exchange, with Briscoe explaining that he may not be racing for a championship but is racing to keep his job. Hamlin retorted that the rookie might put himself in others’ shoes and said respect is an underrated trait in today’s world.
Denny Hamlin admits he acted immaturely and reveals why
This week Hamlin met with reporters and discussed a variety of topics, including driver etiquette for playoff drivers vs. non-playoff drivers. Unsurprisingly, the topic of his exchange with Briscoe also came up. When Hamlin was questioned why he chose to do it in a public manner instead of talking about it in a separate private communication, he provided an interesting answer.
“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 social media exchange with Briscoe led to other conversations, Hamlin curtly responded, “no.”
Adversarial relationship started at Indianapolis
Denny Hamlin’s frustration with Chase Briscoe goes back to the race at the Indianapolis road course in mid-August when he was in a position to win the race late. On the second restart in overtime, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver exited Turn 1 wide and forced Briscoe into the grass. The rookie driver proceeded to cut off Turn 2 and rejoined the track behind Hamlin. NASCAR issued the 26-year-old driver a stop-and-go penalty, but before he served it, he spun Hamlin and eliminated his chances of winning the race.
After the race, the two met face-to-face on pit road, where Briscoe explained his side of the story and Hamlin listened.
“I agree it’s not on purpose, but my team told me that he had a penalty right away and to me, it’s obvious,” Hamlin said afterward. “If you cut the racetrack and end up in the lead, you’re going to have a penalty. Lack of awareness. Race me for a lap. He went right in the back of me. We can’t race that way. I don’t think he did it malicious. I’ve raced with him for a year now. He’s not that kind of person, just bad judgment.”
Hamlin’s comments at the time suggested that he respected Briscoe’s driving. Based on the pair’s latest exchange, who knows if he feels the same way. In either case, fans will be watching this weekend at Kansas to see if it might be the start of another interesting chapter.