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Denny Hamlin‘s 50th career Cup Series win wasn’t the main topic of conversation last week after Pocono. Instead, it was the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s late incident with Kyle Larson en route to that victory, including both drivers arguing their cases in the media.

This past weekend at Richmond Raceway, the aforementioned media naturally followed up to see if the pair had addressed the situation. Both agreed they had communicated, but their stories of what that looked like were dramatically different. Why?   

Denny Hamlin runs Kyle Larson high at Pocono

Years from now, one of the highlights from the 2023 Cup Series season will be the July race at Pocono and the late contact on a restart where the three-time Daytona 500 champion slid up the track and squeezed the 2021 champion into the fence. 

During his post-race interview, Hamlin denied he ever made contact. Larson was more fiery than usual, dropping a curse word on national television and calling out his friend for never being wrong. And they were just getting started.

The conversation between the drivers continued a day after the race when both pled their cases on their respective podcasts. All of it combined sounded like it would be an awkward conversation the first time the pair talked. 

Hamlin and Larson offer different stories on what happened after


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On Saturday, Hamlin met with reporters in the media center at Richmond and was asked on multiple occasions if he and Larson had talked. The 42-year-old acknowledged they had communicated. Then he was asked if he had a goal going into that conversation and if he achieved it.

“There’s always going to be a difference of opinion and sometimes you have to agree to disagree and that’s OK,” Hamlin said. “The biggest thing I think is hearing the other person out and understanding why they’re frustrated. 

“Sometimes when you get caught up in your own world and think about your own team and how important it is to them, and you have an incident like that, you do need to sit down and take a second to hear the other side. I totally understand that for sure. As far as, I wanted to have it in person. I did because I thought that we should have that type of relationship. But the details of it won’t come from my end.”  

During NBC’s pre-race show on Sunday, Dave Burns asked Larson if they had talked to hash things out. The Hendrick Motorsports driver offered a dramatically different story of what took place. 

“Just a little bit over text a couple of nights ago. Yeah, he wanted to meet up but I just didn’t really feel like we needed to,” Larson said. “So I felt like briefly texting was probably the best thing to do because I think in person I probably would have ended more upset with him and he probably would have been upset with me as well. So I think it was the best thing to briefly text.” 

Who is telling the truth? Only they know. But it sure does make you wonder why.

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