Denny Hamlin advanced to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 next weekend at Phoenix and a chance at his first title. You would have never known it by the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s actions immediately following the race at Martinsville, where he shockingly used his car to confront Alex Bowman and interrupt his celebratory burnout, dropped an F-bomb on live network television, and ended the tirade by calling out Chase Elliott fans.
Denny Hamlin gets dumped and angrily interrupts Alex Bowman’s burnout celebration
Denny Hamlin’s day didn’t get off to a good start. With multiple prerace inspection failures, he started from the back. Early in the race, he incurred a pit road speeding penalty and again dropped back. Despite that adversity, the winner of two playoff races already this year managed to navigate his way through the field and grabbed the lead with just over 100 laps remaining. He stayed up front with the dominant car for the rest of the race, with Alex Bowman his closest pursuer.
After following him for dozens of laps, with seven laps to go, the Hendrick Motorsports driver got into the left-rear of the No. 11 Toyota, sending it sliding up the track backward, where it made contact with the fence, and set off an eruption of cheers.
Bowman got a great launch on the overtime restart race and held off Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski to earn his fourth win of the season. Moments later, when he drove to the start-finish line for his celebratory burnout, the No. 11 car aggressively pulled up, locked up the tires, and stopped right beside him.
The No. 48 then pulled around and did a spin. Hamlin promptly pulled in front of him, with the cars nose-to-nose, then revved up his engine and started smoking his tires while pushing Bowman backward. He then flipped a double-bird.
One fan threw a canned beverage that hit on the No. 11’s roof and bounced on the ground. Over the radio, Hamlin’s team sent a message to calm its driver.
“Alright Denny. Big picture. Big picture,” he was told before backing up and pulling away.
Hamlin drops f-bomb on live television
Moments later, NBC caught up with both drivers, starting first with the victorious Bowman. When asked what happened with Hamlin, the four-time winner in 2021 admitted his mistake.
“I just got loose in,” Bowman said. “I got in too deep, knocked him out of the way, and literally let him have the lead back. For anybody that wants to think I was trying to crash him, obviously wasn’t the case considering I literally gave up the lead at Martinsville to give it back to him.”
An angry Hamlin saw things much differently.
“He’s just a hack,” he said as the PA system played the network audio and fans responded by raining down a chorus of boos aimed at him. “Just an absolute hack. He gets his ass kicked by his teammates every week. He’s f****** terrible. He’s just terrible. He sees one opportunity, he takes it. Obviously he’s got the fast car of the week, and he runs 10th. He didn’t want to race us there. We had a good, clean race. I moved up as high as I could on the racetrack to give him all the room I could, he still can’t drive.”
Hamlin surprisingly goes after Chase Elliott fans
Several minutes later, Hamlin visited with the media. One reporter asked what he thought of the fans booing him.
“It’s just Chase Elliott fans, man. They don’t think straight,” Hamlin said. When questioned whether it bothered him, he brushed it off with an intriguing answer.
“No, not at all. They’re going to boo the s*** out of me next week, I can tell you that,” he confidently said.
It’s the young guns at Hendrick Motorsports versus the long-time veterans of Joe Gibbs Racing for the championship. Each camp already has one title-winning driver in the mix and they’re looking to add another. This is a dream scenario for NASCAR and will be must-see TV for the fans.