After the race, Tony Stewart told Briscoe that he was happy he stood up for himself
The NASCAR Cup Series visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the first time on Sunday. Briscoe started from the front row.
A bunch of chaos later… The race was now in overtime. Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe lined up on the front row for the final restart.
AJ Allmendinger leaned on the rear bumper of Hamlin into turn one. Hamlin ran wide off the corner, pushing Briscoe off into the grass.
Briscoe stood on the gas and drove straight through the grass. He cut the track enough that when he re-entered the racing surface, he was in the lead.
Briscoe and Hamlin ran side by side through turn three as Briscoe built his momentum back up. Hamlin won that battle on the inside of turn four.
Briscoe remained on the bumper of Hamlin. As they came to the white flag, Briscoe attempted to dive to the inside of Hamlin. In the process, he clipped the right rear bumper of Hamlin.
Moments before, NASCAR called over the radio that Briscoe had been penalized. However, Briscoe claims that message was not relayed to him until after the contact with Hamlin.
Hamlin spun through the grass. Briscoe served a stop and go penalty on the track. AJ Allmendinger was handed the lead on the final lap and drove to victory.
After the drivers climbed from their cars, Hamlin walked the length of pit road to find Briscoe. The two never touched each other but he was a heated discussion.
“I’m just glad you stood up for yourself on it. You deserve to. That’ll go a long way. I’m proud of you,” Briscoe team owner Tony Stewart told him in a private conversation on pit road.
Chase Briscoe on the incident with Hamlin
“Obviously, he’s upset. I would have been too. Don’t think he realized that I didn’t even know I had a penalty until we got to turn 10,” Chase Briscoe told NBC Sports.
“I asked my spotter. He said, ‘We gotta stop in turn 10.’ I said, ‘Which one’s 10?’ I just tried stopping somewhere.”
Briscoe added, “I get why he’s upset. I would have been upset too. But, Denny’s been in y situation, where you’re trying to go for your first win. He asked why I didn’t wait. Well, I felt like that was my best opportunity to win the race is if I could get under him there.”
“I’m sorry that it ruined his day. That was never my intention. If I would have known I had a penalty, I would have never even tried to pass him. But, at that moment in time, I was going for the win.”
Briscoe noted that the move wasn’t in retaliation to being pushed off the track in turn one.
“No, not at all. I wanted to beat him fair and square. I don’t ever want to wreck anybody for the win. I’ve never wrecked anybody on purpose in my life.”
“He’s doing what he had to do getting into [turn] 1, trying to out-brake me. I was trying to out brake him, that’s part of racing.”
Briscoe concluded, “I thought we were going to get in the Playoffs there for a second.”
Denny Hamlin on the incident with Chase Briscoe
“I agree it’s not on purpose, but my team told me that he had a penalty right away and to me, to me, it’s obvious,” Hamlin told NBC Sports after the conversation with Briscoe.
“If you cut the race track and end up in the lead, you’re going to have a penalty. Lack of awareness. Race me for a lap. He ran right in the back of me.”
“We can’t race that way,” Hamlin added. “I don’t think he did it malicious. I’ve raced with him for a year now. He’s not that kind of person, just bad judgment.”
Hamlin made the initial contact with Briscoe in turn one. That contact is what forced Briscoe of the track.
“I got hit by the No. 16 entering the corner. That shoved me out then I hit him to the right. Then, the No. 14 cut the track and took the lead for a second there.”
“I can accept it. The roles have been reversed, other times. I’ve been on the giving end of a mistake, so I get it. To me, it’s just a lack of situational awareness, obviously, you’re going to have a penalty if you cut the race track.”
Hamlin concluded, “I’m not furious. It just sucks, it turned our day upside down.”
NASCAR to investigate
“It was announced over the race channel that he had a penalty and needed to serve it prior to having the incident out there with the 11,” Miller said.
“There wasn’t much time left by the time that we called the penalty and him getting into it with the 11. We will do some investigation and make sure the spotter conveyed the message well to the driver before that happened.
He concluded, “That was unfortunate how that went.”
NASCAR reviews incidents and other things, every week. Any additional penalties would typically be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday, days after the event.