The driver code has changed and we’re seeing the updated product
Week after week, NASCAR drivers are thrust onto race tracks and expected to get along. Clearly, that’s a difficult task.
Formerly, there was an unwritten driver code. They lived by the code or they were given the chrome horn until they changed.
In the past, drivers respected each other. They all followed the code. But, a new era of racing drivers have entered the ring and that code has disappeared. It’s take, take, take, all the time.
Recently, Denny Hamlin, a driver who came into the sport during an era of the strict driver code relayed a message to Ross Chastain. He used his car to do it as he put Chastain in the wall in the final laps at Phoenix Raceway.
Denny Hamlin vs Ross Chastain: Phoenix Raceway (Video)
The move was designed to send a message. Yes, the two drivers had many run-ins last season. However, Hamlin noted that this incident was in retaliation for an incident at the 2023 Clash.
After the race, Chastain and Hamlin had a lengthy conversation. According to Hamlin, it opened with Chastain stating, “I guess I deserved it.” Hamlin responded, “Yeah, I think so.”
Denny Hamlin admits retaliation on Ross Chastain at Phoenix (Video)
NASCAR initially ignored the situation, calling it a racing incident. However, the day after the race, Hamlin used his ‘Actions Detrimental’ podcast to detail why he did what he did.
NASCAR heard the podcast and adjusted their stance. They handed Hamlin a 25 point penalty and fined him $50,000, noting “Actions detrimental to stock car racing.”
NASCAR issues $550,000 in fines after Phoenix Raceway
There used to be a way for drivers to settle the score and send a message if the code wasn’t followed. Now, it’s an era of NASCAR that has no code and no etiquette…
Kyle Busch comments on NASCAR etiquette
“When you intentionally drive over somebody because they made a move on you or something you didn’t like then, you’re going to get punched in the face afterwards,” Kyle Busch told reporters at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“We have completely lost any sense of respect in the garage area, between drivers, at all.”
“That’s where the problem lies. Is nobody gives two-shits about anybody else. It’s a problem where everybody takes advantage of everybody as much as they can.”
“We’re all selfish, granted. But, there was an etiquette that once, did live here. Mark [Martin] started it, I think Tony [Stewart] really lived by it. I think Jeff [Gordon] lived by it, Bobby Labonte. You know, Rusty [Wallace], for the most part. Dale Jarrett, for sure.”
Kyle Busch concluded, “It did exist. That’s gone.”
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Sending drivers to the back for spins?
“He already knows that he can’t run somebody over because he gets sent to the back,” Busch said of his son Brexton’s racing.
“That’s something else is there’s no repercussions for running somebody over. If we want to do that, you get sent to the back, held a lap, like something.”
“I’m guilty of it. I’ve spun somebody for the lead or the win before. On accident, racing.”
“But, if it happens, you get sent to the back. There’s no repercussions for that right now. That’s how the kids learn when they’re growing up, maybe we need to implement that here.”
Denny Hamlin changes his mind; Will appeal NASCAR penalty
Kyle Busch | Denny Hamlin | Ross Chastain | Phoenix Raceway | NASCAR