After a week in which Denny Hamlin was at the center of race violation controversy, he’s come out and said yes, his car wasn’t right and he deserved the penalty that encumbered two of his victories at Darlington.
Following the rear suspension penalty, he talked to his crew chief who told him the car “wasn’t right.”
“Close doesn’t matter, it was still over the line,’’ Hamlin told NASCAR.com. “We just didn’t allow for running into the wall with five laps to go. We didn’t allow for the dirt and the grime to get in there and loosen those things up as bad as it did. It’s unfortunate.”
He said the penalties — which includes points loses and a fine — were just.
“But we’ll fix it and go forward. If the shoe was on the other foot and it was one of my competitors I would expect the same type of penalty. We’ll move on and try to win this week,” he said.
NASCAR has been consumed with talk the last few days that the sport might start taking away wins for rules violations; it instead announced on Friday that is was strengthening its penalties for post-race violations.
.The issued bubbled up again after Hamlin had two wins this past weekend encumbered — his Cup Series win at the South 500 and his Xfinity win — because of a rear suspension violation.
But while Joey Logano believes the issue is all ado about very little, Hamlin would be OK with stiffer penalties. He told NBC Sports:
“As long as it’s the same for everyone, I think that’s key. Make sure that when someone else is in there with the same violation, it gets the same penalty and treatment even if it’s in the playoffs. Obviously, it’s negative publicity for everyone involved, so I just hope that it’s the same. I’m fine with taking wins away. Nothing wrong with that.”Advertisement
But while Hamlin is OK with this, others, like Logano, won’t be.
Based on reporting by CatchFence. Logano said, according to the tweet: “I don’t like the word cheating. We’re taking about something very, very small.” He continued, “This is pushing he edge.”
Then, after two prominent NASCAR cars ripped drivers who “cheated,” another analyst says NASCAR is considering stripping who violate the rules of wins as soon as next year.
In remarks on NBC Sports (see the video above), analyst Nate Ryan said he spoke to NASCAR officials who are looking closely at the new measure.
“I think NASCAR is seriously going to consider stripping wins in 2018. I don’t think that’s going to be in consideration as far as a change in policy this season,” Ryan said. “I think it’s absolutely, I’ve been told, under consideration for next season.”
The issue has picked up steam following Denny Hamlin’s two encumbered victories at Darlington this past weekend — in Cup and XFinity Series races. Crew chief Mike Wheeler was slapped with $50,000 fine and suspended for two races. The team lost 25 owner points and 25 driver points, in addition to Hamlin’s first-place finishes being ruled encumbered because of a rear suspension violation.
Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett kicked off the discussion on Wednesday with their remarks on NASCAR America. Burton’s were the strongest.
Burton, the former NASCAR rookie of the year, and Jarrett, the former NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship, want NASCAR start disqualifying drivers whose cars fail post-race inspection, and levy six-figure fines. Burton, in his remarks, specifically called out Denny Hamlin in remarks on NASCAR America.
“I think it’s time to start disqualifying people. I think it’s time in today’s world where Denny Hamlin won that race and by him winning that race, that kept someone else from winning the race, and no one got those five points moving into the playoffs.
“It’s time to disqualify people. It’s time to say, ‘If you’re illegal, here’s the rules.’ Whether you like the rules or not, that’s not the question. These are the rules as written. If you are found to break the rules, and it’s not a mistake, it 100 percent happened — and even if it is a mistake, you have to be responsible for them.
“It’s time to start taking wins away. It’s time to give the points to the person that won the race. Any team that wins and did it illegal didn’t win the race. Every short track in the country takes wins away, but we can’t do it here.”