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News broke on Thursday that NASCAR has fined Denny Hamlin $25,000 for his comments after last week’s race at Phoenix regarding the new Generation-6 cars. Here’s what Hamlin, who finished 3rd after starting in the rear of the field, had to say:
I don’t want to be the 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. The teams hadn’t figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th-place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there — I wouldn’t have moved up. It’s just one of those things where track position is everything.
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin has reportedly said that he will not pay the fine and that NASCAR can suspend him. More details are sure to emerge soon…
UPDATE #2: Hamlin took to Twitter on Thursday night to release this statement:
The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was 1 sentence taken completely out of context. Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND nascars best interest in mind when speaking. On the other hand I am a person that worked very hard from the BOTTOM to get where I am today and someone telling me that I can give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me. Since being fined in 2010 I have been a lot more careful about what I say to media and I felt this past weekend felt completely in my rights to give a assessment of the question asked. I feel as if today NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed. So in the end there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me, this is not about the money.. It’s much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win.
The #3 car may be back in Cup Series action
The 2013 plan for Austin Dillon–who finished 3rd in the Nationwide Series points standings last year–is to run another full season in NASCAR’s second-tier series along with a handful of Cup races before making the full transition to the top series in 2014. Jayski is reporting that Richard Childress, who is Austin’s grandfather and owner of Richard Childress Racing, is seriously considering allowing Dillon to run the #3 car in the few Cup Series races he’s set to attempt this season.
As most NASCAR fans know, the #3 hasn’t been on the track in a Sprint Cup Series event since the tragic passing of Dale Earnhardt on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Die-hard “Intimidator” fans probably have strong feelings about seeing that iconic number in a race again, and for good reason. Many fans believe that the #3 should be retired by NASCAR, although the sport has yet to retire any.