For the second time in as many years, Denny Hamlin was left frustrated with Kevin Harvick in the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In 2013, Harvick parked his car in Hamlin’s pit stall after they were both involved in a late-race crash, leading to Hamlin shoving Harvick’s car out of the stall and then a conversation between the two drivers.
Then came last Saturday night, when Harvick’s front bumper made contact with the left-rear corner of Hamlin’s car as they battled for the lead. Hamlin was sent spinning off the inside frontstretch wall and into the path of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was unable to avoid him.
After getting out of his wrecked No. 11 car, Hamlin heaved his HANS device at Harvick (who apologized for the incident). But in post-race interviews, Hamlin appeared to calm down and noted that he thought Harvick would not do such a thing intentionally to him.
On today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA, the crew talked about the Hamlin-Harvick incident. You can check out their thoughts in the clip above.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.