Denny Hamlin Mar 12, 2023; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

To say Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain have history would be an understatement. The two seem to be around each other constantly, resulting in one or the other getting moved out of the way. Hamlin has taken issue with Chastain’s aggressiveness on the track and may have gotten his revenge on him at Phoenix.

In the overtime period of Sunday’s race, Hamlin got into Chastain and put him in the wall. Both cars continued, and after a couple of hits down the backstretch (Hamlin claimed Chastain ‘brake-checked’ him), Hamlin hit Chastain another time they got to the final lap. Hamlin finished 23rd, and Chastain finished 24th, the final two drivers finishing on the lead lap.

On his podcast, Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin, Hamlin came clean and admitted he put Chastain in the wall.

Hamlin said the following:

I went into Turn 1 with the mindset that I’m gonna try to get the best finish that I can get. I’m on two tires and I go into Turn 1, and while I even went shallow on speed, my car’s plowed… And they were calling the #1 car on the outside. So at that point, I knew that I was screwed. I was about to go backwards, I had all the four tire cars on my ***.

I’m about to get passed by everybody behind me who’s on fresh tires. I’m about to finish in the mid-teens. And I said, ‘You’re coming with me, buddy.’

Wasn’t a mistake. I let the wheel go and I said, ‘He’s coming with me.’… I got wrecked at the Clash. I don’t know that Ross sees it that way. I think he’s still curious about what I’ve thought about the Clash. I don’t know why he would wonder why what I thought about the Clash.

But I said for a while, ‘Well, you got to do something to get these guys attention, whatever.’ And I’ve said it, and I think that Ross doesn’t like it when I speak his name in the media and when I have this microphone. But I told him, ‘Well I have a microphone and I’m going to call it like I see it. And until you get a microphone, you can then say whatever you want about me. But the fact is, is while I’m sitting here talking, I’m going to call things the way I see it. And sometimes I got to call myself out, which I’m the ******* who lost just as many spots as he did. But at the time I said, ‘Well, I’m going to finish ****** anyway, and I’m just going to make sure that he finishes ****** right here with me. 

You can agree or disagree with Hamlin, but you can’t say he isn’t honest.

Hamlin went further, explaining what the two talked about after the race.

“[Chastain] came up to me and he says, ‘I guess I deserve it.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’

“So we talked and I think that we are in a better place where I think we’re willing to put the past behind us and I think that we’re going to judge each other from this point forward. And I think that’s the fairest way to do it. As far as this season is concerned, he got me and while it didn’t cost him, it did cost me at the Clash. It cost both of us here, but that’s my ****** executions right, so that’s not his fault.

“I just think that we need to just race each other with better respect from this point forward, and that’s what I hope to get out of this. And he asked for truce, I asked for truce, and let’s just, let’s just see how it goes from here.”

It remains to be seen if there is any penalty for Hamlin’s honesty. NASCAR has cracked down on intentional wrecks in recent past, but they couldn’t really do anything unless the driver admitted it was intentional or that it was very obviously intentional. On the other hand, Hamlin didn’t exactly wreck Chastain. He put him in the wall but didn’t take him out of the race either. That, plus the fact the two have a truce, might keep Hamlin in the clear in NASCAR’s eyes.

[Actions Detrimental]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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