Denny Hamlin speaks on Chase Elliott’s feud with Kevin Harvick; Says Elliott fans are still bitter for years ago
On Sunday, Martinsville Speedway hosted the playoff elimination finale. The race and the altercations that followed have dominated the headlines all week.
Hamlin started at the back of the field after failing pre-race inspection. He then drove toward the front and was caught speeding on the pit lane. The No. 11 team was sent to back once move and he drove all the way to the race lead.
In the closing laps, Alex Bowman had the fastest car and we all over the bumper of Hamlin. For many laps, they ran inches apart.
With 6 to go, Bowman dove to the inside but missed the bottom. He wheel hopped up the banking and clipped Hamlin in the left rear.
Hamlin found the outside wall as Bowman drove to victory lane. But, after the race, Hamlin showed his frustration as he pulled nose to nose with Bowman after the race at the start/finish line. Hamlin gave him the double middle finger as he did a burnout on his nose.
Denny Hamlin didn’t buy a Hack shirt
In the post race interview, Hamlin called Bowman a “Hack”, several times. Within hours, Bowman listed his Martinsville win t-shirt online with the word “HACK” across the front.
Throughout the week, Bowman has continued to embrace the phrase. He’s expected to show up with “HACK Bowman” across his window, this weekend.
Bowman also took subliminal shots at Hamlin. The No. 48 drivers posted a screenshot of 2,311 pre-orders of his new shirt.
Hamlin is the co-owner of 23XI Racing. The team is pronounced twenty-three eleven.
“I did not,” Denny Hamlin responded to questions from Bob Pockrass on whether or not he bought a ‘Hack’ shirt from Bowman.
Hamlin is fine with him selling the shirt. He added, “A lot of drivers lack originality. So, anytime that I can help them with that, I’m sure they appreciate it.”
Hamlin comments on Martinsville and the crowd reaction after getting crashed by Bowman
The crowd was outspoken after the race at Martinsville Speedway. Similar to the incident with Elliott at the same track, Hamlin was booed. Only this time, Hamlin was the victim in the contact during the race.
“I really wanted to make a pretty strong statement at Martinsville,” Hamlin said of the race in advance of the championship weekend.
“Starting in the back. We went back to the back, again. Driving all the way to the front and winning that race would be, you know, foot on the throat, this weekend.”
“I feel like that momentum was taken away. In my head, the momentum swings back around, to ultra-motivated. I love the feeling of proving people wrong.”
Hamlin didn’t understand the level of boos he received at Martinsville. But, he’s not concerned with fan popularity.
“No, because it doesn’t correlate to common sense. Honestly, we were the guys that were crashed. We were booed? I’m confused, what’s going on?”
“People were passionate about their drivers. That’s ok. But honestly, it doesn’t make any sense in the grand scheme of what’s actually going on.”
“It’s bitter fans from a half decade ago, they just can’t let go. They just cannot get over it.”
Hamlin is referring to Chase Elliott fans. The no. 11 drivers once wrecked Elliott while battling for the lead at Martinsville Speedway.
Hamlin says NASCAR drivers need to self-police altercations
“There was controversy a few weeks ago, right. Eventually, one of the drivers just said, ‘I’ve had enough. I’m done taking your shit and I’m going to crash you.’ “
“I think that probably needs to happen a little bit more often to get some respect back. Obviously, NASCAR is not going to police this stuff. It certainly fuels popularity.”
“So, the drivers have to get back to self-policing. That probably is going to have to come through the hard way.”
In other words, an eye for an eye. Hamlin expects more drivers to get back to wrecking each other to even the score.
Haters motivate Hamlin
Hamlin added, “Everyone’s go to is, ‘You haven’t won a championship’ cause there’s nothing else they can say.”
“So, I’m so motivated to go out there and show them what’s up. It’s fuel for me. People don’t get in my head in a negative way, I turn it into a positive, motivation.”
“Some people like to go in hole and hide from it. I do not, I go at it, head on. When thing’s go haywire or shit hits the fan, I usually come out swinging. And we will come out swinging, again.”
Phoenix Raceway is set to open the Championship 4 race weekend. All three national series will close the 2021 season.
Hamlin is entering the championship race as one of the four drivers in the running for the title. All year, he’s been a favorite. With 17 years of experience and 46 wins, a championship is the only thing missing from Hamlin’s resume.