Hamlin Fine With Taking Wins Away

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin would be in favor of NASCAR erasing wins from drivers in cars that fail post-race inspection. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Denny Hamlin would be in favor of NASCAR erasing wins from drivers in cars that fail post-race inspection.

Hamlin’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 victory was deemed encumbered by NASCAR for an infraction that was found in the rear suspension during post-race inspection. Although Hamlin’s name remains in the record book as the race’s winner, crew chief Mike Wheeler was fined $50,000 and received a two-race suspension. Hamlin was stripped of 25 regular-season points and the five bonus points earned for the win are not eligible to carry over when the playoffs begin.

"Well, it sucks," Hamlin said Friday at Richmond Raceway when asked his reaction when he found out about the penalty. "It had nothing to do with winning the race. I'd won five other races at that track well before that. I'd love to line 'em up again. That track is special to me. It was a special weekend, all in all. It took something that was super-positive and turned it into a negative pretty quickly."

The Darlington situation, which included Hamlin’s race-winning Xfinity Series car failing post-race inspection for the same infraction, has generated much conversation around the sport of whether those wins should be wiped completely from the records.

Maybe surprisingly, Hamlin agrees.

"I'm fine with taking wins away. Nothing wrong with that," he said.

While Hamlin is on board with that concept, he also understands the degree of difficulty in officiating the idea.

"As far as whether or not you should take away wins, black or white, be subjective, it's tough because with this particular part of the car, I don't know if it's really black and white," he said. "There've been others that have been very gray and they've said, 'OK, that's good.' Then, ours is not good. Now given, my crew chief said it was enough to where he was satisfied with the penalty.

"It's a tough line and I don't know what the line is, where you take wins away. But there should be parts of the car they distinguish - motor, tires, maybe rear suspension, stuff like that, major items (where) maybe wins get taken away, or aero advantages that probably should be taken away, as well."

Hamlin accepted his Darlington penalty but remains adamant that he did not have a competitive advantage because of the suspension issues.

"I know I could line up with IROC cars at Darlington and I'm going to have an advantage there," he said of his success at the track.

All Hamlin can do is set his sights on winning Saturday night’s regular-season finale, the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, and put last week’s penalty in the rear-view mirror - although it did provide an added bonus.
 
"It's a ton of motivation," Hamlin said. "This is not what I wanted to talk about coming to my home track, especially after our weekend that was fantastic. That part of it stinks but also, there are tons of motivation that will be behind us this week to go out there and perform well."

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (ET) - with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.

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