When Denny Hamlin hit Chase Elliott’s car and spun him out on Sunday, NASCAR fans were likely expecting Hamlin to be penalized.
The wreck ended Elliott’s chances of winning, and it had a drastic impact on the race. NASCAR executive Steve O’Donnell made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio’s “The Morning Drive” on Monday morning, and he said while Hamlin went too far, it wasn’t worth penalizing him.
“Certainly, what Chase was able to do in an attempt to win his first race there, I think you saw by the fans how much he has a fan base and how much everyone wants to see him win,” O’Donnell said via NBC Sports. “Denny, I think, did in his mind what he needed to do and probably went too far.
“We did not make a call there. That race stands. We’re not in the business of calling an in-race penalty postrace. That was good hard racing, for the most part, all day at Martinsville.”
Hamlin has since apologized for the incident and took responsibility for the wreck.
“I think Denny might have crossed the line as he put out there on Twitter, and I thought Chase handled himself very well postrace,” O’Donnell said. “Showed some passion. That’s what the sport is all about. He’s got a long career ahead of him. I think he’ll be up front leading many times.”
Elliott was searching for his first career win and a spot in the championship race at Homestead. He has two races remaining in the Round of 8, and he might look for revenge on Hamlin for causing the wreck.