Hamlin Thinks NASCAR Overreacted

Denny Hamlin

"I think that in hindsight I really believe they (NASCAR) overreacted and I believe that they think they overreacted once they thought about it a little bit, but now we’re at a point that we’re good with each other and we’re just going to move on from here.” (Photo: Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin may have dropped the appeal of his $25,000 fine but he still feels NASCAR overreacted after his post Phoenix race comments.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver addressed the media Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway to explain why he decided to stop the appeal process of his celebrated fine that NASCAR handed down for what the sanctioning body viewed as detrimental comments about the sport and the Gen-6 Sprint Cup Series car.

“We’ve got bigger fish to fry than to argue over what I said just for $25,000 and it’s better just to move on and let NASCAR get its credibility back and they’re going to do that and I’m going to move on and just focus on a championship,” said Hamlin, who still won’t pay the fine but rather let NASCAR garnish the money from his race earnings.

Despite the decision not to take the case to an appeal, Hamlin still believes NASCAR took things too far and that his stance won over some fans in the court of public opinion.

“The biggest thing is I think that we won in the judge of the people and their opinion I think some of the peers of mine -- at least the ones that have a backbone had the nerve to stick up for what they know is right and wrong – agreed,” he said. “But what was the point in going another week or so.

“Ultimately, I had some conversations with Brian France (NASCAR CEO) and we had a lot of the same ideas. And I think that in hindsight I really believe they (NASCAR) overreacted and I believe that they think they overreacted once they thought about it a little bit, but now we’re at a point that we’re good with each other and we’re just going to move on from here.”

While Hamlin still believes he didn’t say anything to warrant the fine and subsequent controversy, he does understand to a degree NASCAR’s protectiveness of the new Gen-6 Cup car and its view by fans.

“They (NASCAR) were very, very sensitive about this car. This is their baby,” he said. “What I was most frustrated with was it’s not even the opinion I have -- I like the car. I think the car is better. That’s me giving the 100 percent honest truth. I was more frustrated with the tire that we were on than anything, so that’s the part that frustrated me is it put me on an island feeling like I was bashing the race car, which was definitely not how I felt.”

Hamlin was disappointed more drivers didn’t back him up in the aftermath of what transpired but believes many were just protecting themselves for a potential similar fate.

“Everyone wants to stay on NASCAR’s good side and so that ultimately plays a lot of what you hear in interviews -- 90 percent of what you hear on a weekly basis is just guys that are trying to stay on NASCAR’s good side,” he said. “There’s very few that really give the honest and true truth.”

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Denny Hamlin

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