Late contact with Hamlin for win 'unintentional' says Bowman

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Late contact with Hamlin for win 'unintentional' says Bowman

NASCAR

Late contact with Hamlin for win 'unintentional' says Bowman

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Alex Bowman admitted the contact that led to spinning Denny Hamlin wasn’t on purpose, and would have acknowledged if it had been on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Bowman said multiple times that he just got loose racing Hamlin into Turn 3 with seven laps to go. He tagged Hamlin in the left-rear tire and spun the playoff contender around, which led to Bowman taking the lead and then surviving the overtime restart to win the Xfinity 500.

“Obviously, hate that we got into the 11,” Bowman said. “Unintentional. I just got loose underneath him and spun him out. I’d be mad, too. I get it. But he’s been on the other side of that to understand.”

Before Bowman could celebrate his fourth NASCAR Cup Series win of the season, Hamlin came along to let him know he wasn’t happy. Bowman was stopped near the start/finish to celebrate when Hamlin drove up on his right side and angled his car into Bowman’s. Although Bowman then looped around Hamlin, he was again thwarted from starting to celebrate when Hamlin flipped him off with both middle fingers and went nose-to-nose with Bowman while on the throttle and smoking the rear tires.

“Have you ever been to Bowman Gray Stadium? I’ve gone there and watched, and that’s what that felt like,” Bowman said of the moment. “When they had that TV show with the mods running there, I watched the heck out of that. It was really entertaining then, not so entertaining when you’re living it.

“But I just didn’t want to be a part of that and make us both look dumb, so I just tried to not be a part of it. I wasn’t going to try to do stuff like that; that’s not who I am. I understand why he’s mad; I’d be mad too. I drove off in the corner and got loose, and spun him out. But at the same time, I didn’t do it on purpose. If I did, I’d tell you.”

Bowman said Hamlin being all but assured a spot in the title race did not impact how he raced Hamlin.

“Made every attempt to race him clean and finally got loose underneath him,” Bowman said. “I think this whole garage knows that I race pretty clean, and you’re racing for wins on a short track. You’re maxed out. I was loose in all day and finally got loose in (under him). I feel like if he was fighting for a playoff spot or on the outside looking in, I would have raced him the same. I’m here to win races, and at the end of the day, that’s kind of all that matters.”

Confrontation and being involved in a situation like what unfolded between him and Hamlin is not something Bowman embraces.

“If the front straightaway thing wouldn’t have happened, I would have already talked to him,” said Bowman. “I don’t like drama. I’m pretty shy and keep to myself and do my own thing, so this isn’t the most comfortable situation for me. At the same time, I’m paid to win races, and that’s what we’re here to do.

“We’ll talk this week. He’s got so much going on with trying to go win a championship, and understandably he’s probably, after tonight, he’ll be more focused on things, and I think the last time he wants is for us to continue anything next week. We’ll just hopefully talk, and he’s going to be mad. I have my side of the story, and it’s not going to make him any happier, but I’ll tell him, and we’ll go from there.”

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