Denny Hamlin maintains his contact with Chase Elliott last weekend at Martinsville Speedway was not intentional.
Racing for the lead going into Turn 3 during the closing laps of the First Data 500, Hamlin got into the rear of Elliott and sent the No. 24 spinning. Speaking with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio during Toyota Motorsports Day in Plano, Texas, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said he will not change how he races going forward and is not concerned with how Elliott may treat him.
“Wrecks happen in racing,” said Hamlin. “It has for a billon years. It’s not the first, won’t be last. I can guarantee that.
“I’ve told them: however you want to race me is absolutely fine. I’ll be OK with that. I’m not worried about it. I have no time to be worried about anything like that. We have two more races to get ourselves into the final four [at Homestead-Miami Speedway]. Texas is the first step to doing that.”
As to why he posted an apology on Twitter even though he feels he didn’t do anything wrong, Hamlin explained, “I was on my way home, just thinking about things. Obviously, what I was being regretful for was being too aggressive at that time. I know in my head there was absolutely no intent. I pretty much laid it all out there.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a situation like that before. I haven’t seen any tapes coming up of me saying or showing that ain’t true. I think my reputation on the race track and the way I drive speak for themselves.”
Both Hamlin and Elliott are championship-eligible, and a win at Martinsville would have locked them into Homestead. Going into this weekend’s AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Hamlin and Elliott are outside of the transfer spots.
While Hamlin also said he has reached out to contact Elliott and discuss last weekend, the two have not yet spoken.