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UPDATE: Hamlin fined $25,000 for disparaging comments

Mar 7, 2013, 2:10 PM EDT

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Denny Hamlin made headlines at the end of last week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for a bold, three-wide move through the apron on the last lap. Jimmie Johnson edged him for second place at the line.

What he said after the race, though, has now cost him $25,000. Hamlin was fined Thursday for disparaging remarks about the racing quality with NASCAR’s new Generation 6 car.

Hamlin said he “didn’t want to be a pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning.”

NASCAR said Thursday they would not tolerate such remarks as they were considered actions detrimental to stock car racing.

There had been a period of secret fines issues to drivers in the past, but public fines occurred last year in several instances. Brad Keselowski was fined $25,000 last year after the November race at Phoenix for having his cellphone in his car and tweeting during the red flag caused when Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer had contact.

Keselowski’s in-race tweet at the 2012 Daytona 500 didn’t incur a penalty, and served as the springboard to his social media stardom throughout last season.

UPDATE, 3:15 pm ET: USA Today Sports NASCAR reporter Jeff Gluck tweeted late Thursday Hamlin will not pay the fine, and vows to not say anything about competition for the rest of the year. “Ask about his daughter and wins,” was the line Gluck used from Hamlin.

UPDATE 2, 10:30 pm ET: Hamlin released a statement on his own via Twitter. It starts, “The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined.”

  1. winged warrior - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Okay, so the short-lived ‘have at it, boys’ concept didn’t fare so well for NASCAR (in corporate opinions, anyway) but this Gentleman Quarterly Mind Meld is far more annoying. I hate it right up there with ‘protecting our brand’ or anything ‘brand’-speech. This vanilla shaping of driver verbiage defies the emotions of what race car drivers experience.

    It’s a pity Hamlin (or any other driver) has to go to the whipping post for such an opinion. That’s really an abusive fine amount for such a mild comment. G6 car growing pains are obviously going to be experienced by all teams and the press is definitely going to address this area. I guess NASCAR is setting the standard for ‘no comment’ being the only appropriate reply – unless of course you win and then you can pump up the G6 car all you want.

    I hope Hamlin/Gibbs appeal this one and wins.

  2. mnwildfan15 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    So he said what all the fans are saying and get fined 25k?? The new car looks nice but there is no passing which equals shitty races. And I agree with the comment above let them say what they want to say and do what they want to do. If Sr. was still around things wouldn’t be like this.

  3. icemanpjn - Mar 8, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    I’ve got a couple issues to address here, both involving what the sport has become in the modern era. NASCAR seems to have changed quite a bit from its more homely roots in a couple relevant ways.

    1) Driver comments:
    NASCAR isn’t a bunch of good ol’ boys getting a beefy car and racing it around a track any longer. Joe Sixpack can’t buy himself a muscle car, modify it a bit, and race it in NASCAR. Now it’s a multi-billion-dollar business of companies and employees. Drivers don’t show up to work in a suit and tie, but they are expected to be professional and to be mindful of the business. The days of authentic characters are long gone.

    2) No passing:
    Authenticity isn’t just removed from the drivers, and consequently from what they are allowed to say, but also from the cars and the racing in general. “Competition cautions” aren’t authentic, but rather are an artificial way of grouping everyone back up when fans start nodding off. Lack of authenticity extends to the cars themselves, which carry logos and names of car makes and models, but are in absolutely no way Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, or Chevy SS.

    They haven’t been real cars in a long time. They’ve just been purpose-built race cars shaped to vaguely resemble actual road cars but built in no way similar to actual road cars, without even a single nut or bolt in common with the road cars branded with the same names. The generation six cars are the first step they’ve taken towards stock cars that are actually stock. Sure, there’s still nothing stock about them, but at least their forms have moved closer to actual cars rather than cookie-cutter race cars.

  4. prov1x - Mar 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    I hope he stays true to his word and doesn’t answer any competition related questions the rest of the year. Presser after a win would be hilarious to watch. NASCAR overstepping big time on this one.

  5. winged warrior - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    A pleasing update, to say the least. I really hope we hear from FedEx soon with a supportive position regarding Hamlin’s stance.

    A single driver may be the mouse that roared but a huge check being pulled off its corporate ledger is the booming echo NASCAR needs to hear repeatedly. Perhaps FedEx can remind NASCAR who exactly pays the bills for Hamlin and Gibbs.

    Most likely many of you have viewed your own driver polling in response to NASCAR’s action against Hamlin’s remark and it seems the entire garage is (albeit politely) voicing its opposition, as well. As they should.

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