Denny Hamlin to appeal NASCAR penalty

HAMPTON, Ga. – Two days after saying he would not appeal his sentences, Denny Hamlin announced on social media on Friday that he would do so.

NASCAR fined Denny Hamlin $50,000 and 25 points Wednesday for admitting on his podcast this week that he scrambled on purpose Ross Chastain on the final lap of the race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR cited Hamlin for violating Section 4.4.B of the Cup Rulebook. Among the violations listed are:

  • Attempt to manipulate the outcome of the race or championship.

  • Destroying or throwing another vehicle, whether or not it disqualifies that vehicle.

Any violation of Section 4.4.B may result in a loss of 25-50 Driver and/or Team Owner Points and/or a $50,000 to $100,000 fine. Violations may also result in race suspension(s), indefinite suspension or revocation of membership.

NASCAR also cited Hamlin for violating Section 4.4.D, which includes:

Any violation of Section 4.4.D may result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension or revocation of membership.

Hamlin said on social media Friday that what happened to Chastain on the final lap was “usual tough racing that happens every weekend. There was also no manipulation of the race or actions detrimental to the sport.”

Hamlin spoke at length about his incident with Chastain on his podcast at Phoenix and said:

“It wasn’t a mistake. No, it wasn’t a mistake. I let go of the wheel and said he’d come with me. It was interesting because I hear people say it’s for last year or this year. I broke at the clash. I don’t know if Ross sees it that way. I think he’s still curious what I thought about The Clash. I don’t know why he’s wondering what I thought about The Clash.”

NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer said Hamlin’s comments on the podcast led to the penalty.

“If you look at (the incident between Hamlin and Chastain) last weekend, we would have considered that a racing incident, but then 24 hours later to have a competitor go on a podcast … (and) you’re starting to admit it If you intentionally did something that would jeopardize the results at the end of the race, then that rises to the level that we will go for.”

Last year, William Byron turned Hamlin under caution in the playoff race in Texas. Byron admitted to being in touch after the race but said it was not his intention to shoot Hamlin. NASCAR fined Byron $50,000 and 25 points. Byron appealed. The national motorsport appeals body changed Byron’s penalty to no lost points and increased the fine to $100,000.

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