“Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product.”
“The bad part is I feel I’ve been a pretty good spokesman for [NASCAR] in being positive when things aren’t always positive. They lost one small spokesman today, that’s all.”
When NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin made comments about his new car recently, he was critical of the new Gen-6 car and the general trend in what some of YouWager’s NASCAR betting fans were calling “single-file racing” at Phoenix, just one week after those same fans were disappointed by single-file racing at the Daytona 500. Hamlin admitted he was unhappy with the car. And the system it must compete within.
What did he say?
Speaking to a YouWager news source, immediately after the race in Arizona, Hamlin said, “I don’t want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our Gen-5 cars. This is more like what the Generation 5 was at the beginning. The teams hadn’t figured out how to get the aero balance right.”
Then he expanded his explanation: “Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th place with 30 [laps] to go, I would have stayed there — I wouldn’t have moved up. It’s just one of those things where track position is everything.”
Hamlin was immediately fined $25,000 by NASCAR.
NASCAR released a statement that called Hamlin’s comments a violation of Section 12-1 of the NASCAR rule book. According to YouWager’s NASCAR wagering expert, the NASCAR rules in the section includes punishment for “actions detrimental to stock car racing.”
By admitting technical details about the race, such as problems with aerodynamics, and how it controlled the speed of the race, YouWager’s racing man says he thinks NASCAR feels Hamlin was making a negative reflection on the nature of Sprint Cup racing in general, and this was probably much more information than the sport’s ruling body wanted to be released to the general public.
Outraged, Hamlin told YouWager’s source he isn’t going to pay the fine. He says he will not pay the $25,000 penalty for making what they are calling“disparaging remarks” about his new Sprint Cup car, after the race at Phoenix International Raceway.
YouWager’s racing expert says, according to the NASCAR rulebook, failure to pay a fine could mean a suspension for Hamlin. The rulebook also says that any unpaid fines could easily be collected simply by taking the money Hamlin earns at any race.
Hamlin isn’t going down without a fight. During a recent test with the Gen-6 car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he told YouWager’s source,“Ultimately, I’m not OK with it. This is the most upset and angry I’ve been in a really, really long time about anything … anything that relates to NASCAR.”
Kerry Tharp, a spokesman for NASCAR, said it drew the line on criticizing the new car. YouWager’s racing pro reminds us that NASCAR has been promoting these cars for months.
It’s not the first time Hamlin’s opinion has gotten him in trouble. When Hamlin was vocal about problems he encountered with phantom debris cautions on his Twitter account after the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR docked him $50,000.
It’s fair to say that Hamlin can be a determined man. He knows what it takes to move up from 20th place. At the beginning of the 2010 NASCAR wagering season, while he was playing basketball, Hamlin tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament. He postponed surgery, to race at Martinsville Speedway, and won, beating Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano at the finish. Three weeks after his surgery, Hamlin moved his way up the field from a 28th place start to 2nd place in the race. With just 13 laps remaining, at Texas Motor Speedway, Hamlin managed to pass Jeff Gordon and stay ahead of Jimmie Johnson for his 10th NASCAR victory, with 2 wins in 3 races.
Hamlin insists NASCAR’s actions will only make things worse. He will let them worry about that. Hamlin told YouWager’s source, “The truth is what the truth is. I don’t believe in this. I’m never going to believe in it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to pay the fine. If they suspend me, they suspend me. I don’t care at this point.”