Despite an outpouring of support from many race fans and drivers alike, Denny Hamlin announced today that he would be dropping his appeal on the $25,000 fine imposed by NASCAR. After criticizing the generation six car during a post-race press conference at Phoenix International Raceway, Hamlin was slapped with the fine which he said he would never pay.
“After a lot of thought I have decided not to appeal the fine NASCAR has issued. Dragging myself, my team and NASCAR through the mud for the next 2 weeks would not be good for anyone. I firmly believe I am in the right on this issue and will stand behind my decision not to pay. I understand NASCAR will do what they feel is necessary based on my decision. Thanks to all of my fans and peers who have supported me in this decision. I look forward to putting it to rest.”
In a similar statement, NASCAR mentioned that Hamlin would be disciplined through section 12-3 of the rulebook, meaning the $25,000 would be subtracted from any winnings purses and bonuses that Hamlin earns, starting the next race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Surely, both sides are looking to move on from this incident, but it appears that NASCAR where the losers in this quasi-appeal that Hamlin went through. NASCAR stated all along that Hamlin violated section 12-1 by saying something that was “detrimental to the sport.” But not only was NASCAR’s over-reaction more detrimental than the initial comments, it turns out that Hamlin may not have even been wrong in his reaction.
Hamlin was only stating that the car is harder to pass than the previous generation, and not only is that a driver’s reaction, but it is confirmed by statistics. Last year during the Phoenix fall race, there were a recorded 1,658 green flag passes, compared to 1,213 with the generation six car this year.
With this incident behind them, Hamlin has added to his list of issues with the sanctioning body, but both parties will look to move on, and let the new car continue to speak for itself.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486