during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 18, 2017 in Bristol, Tennessee.

NASCAR analyst defends Denny Hamlin's complaints about driver salaries

Denny Hamlin made headlines earlier this week when he said NASCAR drivers should earn a bigger cut of the revenue from the sport, and he cited NBA and NFL players as examples.

Hamlin was criticized by many for his remarks, and many critics cited his lavish lifestyle as an example as to why NASCAR drivers are fairly compensated. NBC NASCAR writer Nate Ryan defended Hamlin's comments, and he even said Hamlin was the right guy to discuss the issue of NASCAR drivers not earning the what they should.

Related: A big NASCAR name wants drivers to be paid more -- a lot more

NASCAR senior vice president Steve O'Donnell even said Hamlin "might need to speak to some of the other stakeholders and maybe get a little bit better education."

Hamlin said the wealth should be distributed more fairly and evenly for the drivers, and he said NASCAR drivers should be making the same kind of guaranteed money as NBA and NFL players.

"And the even-keeled manner Wednesday in which (Hamlin) addressed the economics for drivers and teams was indicative of the fact that he clearly has deliberated on this for a long time before landing on a position that was controversial for many -- notably fans who are tired of hearing about athletes commanding nine- to 10-figure annual salaries and demanding more," Ryan wrote.

Ryan said NBA and NFL players have better labor deals than NASCAR drivers since they receive abut 50 percent of revenue deals.

Hamlin is also concerned that the drivers who aren't as popular and who are younger won't be paid as much as they should be.

Part of his argument was also that teams should be more self-sufficient, though that's easier said than done.

"These aren't easy topics for the NASCAR industry to ponder, but they get addressed only after starting a dialogue," Ryan said.

"And as usual, Hamlin was the one willing to go there.

While you're screaming about his lofty standards of living, it's worth remembering he partly enjoys them because of his willingness to fight."

Fans probably won't like hearing Hamlin's complaints, but he's not just fighting for himself; he's also arguing for drivers in the back half of the field who don't make nearly as much as him.

(h/t NBC Sports)