As the sport is set to resume, what happens if NASCAR drivers feel a need to confront each other after contact? Denny Hamlin comments
NASCAR is set to resume. Darlington Raceway will host the re-opening race on May 17th. That will be followed by six more events in the month of May alone.
The sport is in a unique situation and they are set to capitalize on it. Due to a lack of contact between players, this sport will be one of the first to return.
NASCAR has released a set of guidelines ahead of the event. One way walkways, marks, gloves and regular health checkpoints will all by in place to protect the racing community.
But, not all the questions are answered. Some of the drivers will figure it out when they get to the track.
Denny Hamlin on returning to the track
Bob Pockrass: What concerns do you have about going back?
“For me, it’s just the unknowns about the procedures. You can read about them all you want and we also heard through the teleconference we had with NASCAR.”
“But, making sure that you’re doing everything exactly the way that they want it. Obviously, there will be a huge microscope on how we’re doing things and making sure it’s done in a safe manner.”
“After the first week, it will be easier. People will have a better understanding. The first week, they’ll be some questions that drivers will have.”
Bob Pockrass: Have you gotten any direction from NASCAR on what you should be doing leading up to Darlington?
“I’m really just following the guidelines that you see and read on TV.”
“Just trying to do that. I’ve obviously checked my temperature throughout this whole thing and I’ve been pretty lucky as far as that’s concerned.”
“I’ve got two kids. They run a temperature all the time. It’s a little nervous for me. Cause you could get a fever or something and it will maybe scare you into thinking you have something that you don’t.”
“I’m pretty certain that we’re at an advantage because we’re a non-contact sport. I’m confident that we can go from out street car that we drive to the race track, into our race car and not be within six feet of anyone. Except for the person that puts up the window net.”
“We’re going to be able to do that and it should be pretty effective.”
Another huge part of the guidelines is social distancing. NASCAR is going to use the entire infield to space out team haulers. Later on, when they visit short tracks, teams will be placed outside of the infield.
But, drivers are known to get mad. Sometimes, they even need to punch a guy.
In most of the previous altercations, crews were involved. The whole crew, to be exact. If two entire crews were to jump on top of each other amid a pandemic, that would be a very bad look for the sport.
Denny Hamlin on altercations amid a time of social distancing
Denny Hamlin has been a few of these. Most recently, with Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway.
Dustin Long: In past times, drivers would come talk with a disagreement after a race. How might that work now?
“You meet them at the exit,” Denny Hamlin stated in his NASCAR Media availability. “That’s the only thing I can think of.”
“I don’t know. I actually thought about that as well. If there’s ever a time to be aggressive and ruffle some feathers, this is probably the right time to do it. Because you don’t have to pay the consequences right after the race.”
“I think everyone’s going to do the best they can. But, there’s going to be some guys that are upset with each other that would normally have a discussion afterwards.”
“Listen, if you get fired up enough — you’re going to go up to that other car or that other driver. And, we know that all eyes will be on us to make sure you don’t have contact with that driver or whatever.”
“But, you’ll be close enough that you can give him a piece of your mind. Verbally, within six feet.
NASCAR isn’t going to react well to confrontations in the middle of a pandemic. They have announcing new fines for violating any of the guidelines they’ve put in place ahead of the event.
Those fines are up to $50,000 for NASCAR Cup Series teams. That would be in addition to any other penalties and fines that could come with a confrontation.