Hamlin: I won’t pay fine for criticizing car

Posted on: 5:57 pm, March 8, 2013, by , updated on: 05:59pm, March 8, 2013

Denny Hamlin said Thursday that he refuses to pay the $25,000 fine that NASCAR assessed him after comments he made regarding the new Generation 6 car last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

“I’ll be honest. I’m not going to say anything for the rest of the year, as long as it relates to competition,” Hamlin said Thursday. “You can ask me how my daughter is, talk to me after wins about what-have-you, but as long as it relates to competition, I’m out, from here on out. The bad part is that I feel like I’ve been a pretty good spokesman for them, and being positive when things aren’t always positive. They just lost one small spokesman today — that’s all.

When asked about why he was fined, Hamlin said:

“From what I understand, it’s comparing the Gen-6 car to the Gen-5, comparing the two. I shouldn’t have done that. Ultimately, I’m not OK with it. This is the most upset and angry I’ve been in a really, really long time, about anything, anything that relates to NASCAR. You have strong opinions about a lot of things, whether it be Clements’ suspension, things like that. A lot of people hold their tongues, and some people don’t — like Brad.

Hamlin, who has been penalized twice by NASCAR for comments regarding competition, was hit with a $25,000 fine on Thursday.

He posted this explanation on Twitter:

“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.”

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