Kyle Busch says Denny Hamlin ‘whacked’ Kyle Larson for the win at Pocono Raceway
NASCAR is a contact sport. The sanction themselves have stated that, multiple times throughout the years.
However, there’s always a line. And, everyone views that line in a different place. To further complicate things, the line is different depending on what type of track we’re at.
Last week, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson ran side by side for the race win at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin ran wide off turn one, shoving Larson into the outside wall.
It’s a move that’s identical to what he did the previous year, at the same track, to Ross Chastain. In that case, Hamlin picked up the win but was later disqualified due to a rule violation.
In the eyes of Kyle Busch, that move isn’t a bump-and-run like you’d see at a short track. And, taking it one step further, Busch doesn’t think it’s a racing move at all…
Kyle Busch called the move by Hamlin ‘whacking’
“The bump and run scenario, that might even be a worse cheap-shot,” Kyle Busch stated from the Richmond Media Center.
“Carl in 2017, here. Keep bringing them up and I’ll keep telling you that it happened to me.”
“You flat out run into the corner, deeper than you know your car’s going to stick. And you use the guy in front of you as a brake. That’s what happens in the bump-and-run.”
“My issue with Jr here in 2008, we were racing side-by-side. You keep inching deeper into the corner, every single time. There’s going to be a time you go over that limit and slip. That was me and I made contact with him.”
“Those are hard racing moments. But, you’re pushing a little bit more.”
Busch added of the move Hamlin pulled, “When you get side-by-side with someone, for the first chance and you just whack them out. That’s not racing, that’s whacking.”
Kyle Busch is a former teammate to Denny Hamlin. Busch now drives for Richard Childress Racing.
Kyle Larson reflects on the incident
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson had a brief texting exchange. Larson stated that Hamlin wanted to meet up but Larson didn’t think it was a good idea because they would both just disagree.
“It was brief and fine,” Larson stated at Richmond Raceway.
“I just can’t really see with this one, what I did wrong to deserve to get run in the fence.”
“So, that’s where I’m upset and that’s where I feel strongly about how I handled it and all that.”
“I think I’m a very fair person. Yes, I’ve made my mistakes.”
“Like when I ran Bubba into the fence and he retaliated, I said, ‘He had every right to be mad at me.’ I even told NASCAR, ‘Please don’t suspend him.’ Because I caused that.”
Larson added, “I think I’m fair how I respond to things, most times.”
Denny Hamlin wouldn’t do it different
“It’s really hard to say you’d do anything different,” Denny Hamlin reflected at Richmond the week after Pocono.
“It’s so split-second and the win meant so much to me, at that time. So many different records would get accomplished, with that one win.”
It was a milestone victory for Toyota and also gave Hamlin the win record at Pocono.
“It’s hard to say I would do anything differently in that moment. I didn’t like the outcome, for him. I wish that he could have finished 2nd.”
“It’s one of those things where we flat ran out of room. I tried to clear him but when I didn’t, I knew we were going to be in a bad spot.”
The NASCAR Cup Series returns on Sunday. This week, the series is at the short-track of Richmond Raceway.