Denny Hamlin made headlines at the end of last week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for a bold, three-wide move through the apron on the last lap. Jimmie Johnson edged him for second place at the line.
What he said after the race, though, has now cost him $25,000. Hamlin was fined Thursday for disparaging remarks about the racing quality with NASCAR’s new Generation 6 car.
Hamlin said he “didn’t want to be a pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning.”
NASCAR said Thursday they would not tolerate such remarks as they were considered actions detrimental to stock car racing.
There had been a period of secret fines issues to drivers in the past, but public fines occurred last year in several instances. Brad Keselowski was fined $25,000 last year after the November race at Phoenix for having his cellphone in his car and tweeting during the red flag caused when Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer had contact.
Keselowski’s in-race tweet at the 2012 Daytona 500 didn’t incur a penalty, and served as the springboard to his social media stardom throughout last season.
UPDATE, 3:15 pm ET: USA Today Sports NASCAR reporter Jeff Gluck tweeted late Thursday Hamlin will not pay the fine, and vows to not say anything about competition for the rest of the year. “Ask about his daughter and wins,” was the line Gluck used from Hamlin.
UPDATE 2, 10:30 pm ET: Hamlin released a statement on his own via Twitter. It starts, “The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined.”