Denny Hamlin Calls Out Hypocrisy of NASCAR for All-Star Race Controversial Finish and Offers Specific Penalty for Officials to Enforce on Themselves
Denny Hamlin was hot after finishing second at Texas in the All-Star Race and it wasn’t just because he missed out on the million-dollar prize. It’s how. The controversial race-ending upset Hamlin and plenty of fans in what appeared to be an errant attempt of NASCAR trying to manufacture a late-race drama.
This week the three-time Daytona 500 winner appeared on the Dale Jr. Download and talked about a variety of topics, including ownership, his career, and of course, what happened at Texas. The 41-year-old driver called out the hypocrisy of NASCAR and offered an interesting penalty for the situation.
Denny Hamlin expresses frustration with NASCAR’s inconsistency after All-Star Race
Denny Hamlin was second-best to Ryan Blaney. He admitted as much after the race. However, in his heart, he also said that felt he had been wronged by NASCAR and that he should have been awarded the win because Blaney had made a mistake.
“This isn’t a Denny Hamlin judgment call,” Hamlin told reporters. “I’m just saying, whatever the rule is, let’s be consistent and play by the rule. It’s unfortunate because he made a mistake. He should have won the race. He was 100 yards from winning the race, but many cars have not won races because of green-white-checkered or because of a mistake on the restart at the end. Those things happen.
“All I ask is that we know what the rules are; we play by them. Where NASCAR really got away with one is we nearly crashed off (Turn) 2, so then I send him head first into traffic, and the window net’s down. I don’t know. Then they’ve got a lawsuit on their hands.”
Says NASCAR should suspend someone internally for mistake
While Hamlin made it clear where he stood when visiting with reporters after the race at Texas, he further expanded his thoughts on the late-race drama with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the podcast.
“They tried to make a wrong right by doing another wrong,” Hamlin suggested. “That’s just screwed up. I just felt like they tried to lie to us and say, ‘Oh, his window net was up and he was steering the car.’ Horses***. I was right there. You can see it’s not up.”
Hamlin said the decision to let Blaney continue with what was clearly an improperly secured window net is counterintuitive, especially with NASCAR’s policies regarding safety, including one that the No. 11 team fell victim to recently.
“If they were going to bend the rules, then just let him come in and fix it,” Hamlin said. “At no reason should we ever be letting a driver out there with no window net up. Especially, we’re about to race for a win on a green-white-checkered. The probability of us crashing was probably going to be pretty high considering what we were racing for, an All-Star win. He’s the leader and you know his window net is not secured.
“My crew is gone for four weeks because we had a tire rolling down pit lane because it’s a safety issue. I’m like, well, who are they suspending up in the tower because they need to be gone for four weeks as well.”
Denny Hamlin knows infractions and penalties all too well
Hamlin makes a great point. Starting this weekend in Charlotte at the Coca-Cola 600, his crew chief Chris Gabehart and two pit crew members will start serving NASCAR’s mandatory four-race suspension for losing a wheel at Dover. Its enforcement had been delayed while waiting on appeal, which the team was recently denied.
Hamlin’s seen Bubba Wallace and his 23XI Racing team suffer the same penalty. To NASCAR’s credit, it’s a severe punishment because it’s a severe infraction. One loose wheel gets hit by another and flies into the stands, and NASCAR is facing plenty of lawsuits. Did someone say lawsuits?
On Sunday, NASCAR turned its head the other way and completely avoided properly addressing the loose window net. As Hamlin and others suggested, officials could have, at a minimum, allowed Blaney to come in and fix the net and return to his previous track position.
Instead, the governing body did nothing and pretended like everything was fine. No one has been held accountable and there’s absolutely no reason to believe anyone will. And that means when something similar happens in the future, and it will, it’s hard to believe NASCAR will do the right thing because they’ve already set a bad precedent.
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