Denny Hamlin fined by NASCAR for comments, says he is not paying fine


Getty Images for NASCAR

Denny Hamlin driver of the No.11 FedEx Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing is the latest driver to find himself in the middle of controversy involving the sanctioning body that is NASCAR.

Hamlin made comments regarding the Gen 6 car – and NASCAR did not like the way they came across and issued Hamlin a $25,000 fine stating that that Hamlin violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book.

NASCAR did not release what comments Hamlin was fined for, but all assumptions go to his post race comments after last weekends race at Phoenix. The second race featuring the new Gen 6 race car.


This is not the first time Hamlin has been fined by NASCAR, in 2010 he was privately fined regarding comments he made on Twitter regarding cautions.


Justin Edmonds/ Getty Images

Hamlin’s comments on Sunday:“We learned a lot. I don’t want to be the 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. The teams hadn’t figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th-place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there — I wouldn’t have moved up. It’s just one of those things where track position is everything.”

NASCAR released the following statement regarding the fine: “Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product.”

The situation drew even more attention when Hamlin said Thursday that he refuses to pay the fine that NASCAR put forth regarding his comments. Hamlin said  “This is the most upset and angry I’ve been about anything in a really, really long time  anything that relates to NASCAR … the truth is what the truth is and I don’t believe in this, I’m never going to believe in it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to pay the fine.”

Hamlin noted that NASCAR can suspend him if they want, “I don’t care at this point” he said.

Hamlin is discouraged that NASCAR fined him over an opinion, ““It’s an opinion. It’s not even a bad one,” Hamlin said Thursday. “I don’t want to make things worse than they already are, and this is something that was absolutely nothing that got blown into something, and it’s just going to be worse for them, so just let them deal with it.”

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Hamlin does have the option to appeal the fine, according to Robin Pemberton NASCAR VP of Competition. Pemberton said drivers have “quite a bit of latitude” with their opinions on the car and racing, but said that drivers “can’t slam your racing, can’t slam your product.” He said that is where it crosses a line and action has to be taken.

If Hamlin doesn’t appeal, and still decides not to pay the fine, he may still be forced to pay it per NASCAR rules that say unpaid fines can be deducted from a drivers purse or point earnings fund.

If Hamlin decides to appeal he will have to write a letter and let NASCAR know. If he does he would be able to continue to compete, just like with any other appeal.

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