Hamlin Upset With Earnhardt Jr.
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 17, 2014 | 6:17 P.M. EST
Denny Hamlin: “I'm trying to fight - do everything I can - to keep up with the Hendrick engines. I'm side-drafting down the straightaway, trying to do everything I can. Not things I frown upon when I see other drivers do them." (Photo: Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Denny Hamlin was not pleased with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
Hamlin finished seventh Sunday - by far the best of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable after teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth had problems early.
As the laps wound down, Hamlin raced for position with Earnhardt, which turned somewhat heated.
After the race, the two were involved in an animated discussion on pit road.
"It's just frustration from my part,” Hamlin admitted. “I'm trying to fight - do everything I can - to keep up with the Hendrick engines. I'm side-drafting down the straightaway, trying to do everything I can. Not things I frown upon when I see other drivers do them.
“We're trying to do everything we can to keep our track position. He got a little upset that I was side-drafting and so he kind of crowded me up to the wall in Turn 4. I was a little disappointed, but that's part of it. You talk about it, get it worked out and move on.”
For his part Earnhardt was pleased with his fifth-place finish despite his run-in with Hamlin.
“I ran him up the track a little bit early in the race,” Earnhardt said. “He didn’t like it too much. I’ve been run up the track, too. I don’t like it either, but I didn’t want him hanging on my quarter panel all the way down the front straightaway and end up three- or four-wide. I just wanted to get on by him because I was flying. We were hauling.”
Earnhardt's day included contact with Kyle Larson on pit road early in the race.
“We got in some trouble on pit road and ended up moving the steering wheel around and bending some things up,” Earnhardt said. “Hurt our car just a little bit and cost us. We had a real fast car just coming through the field real easy. Great motor and had a good day.”